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39 people killed in heavy flooding across Sudan

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August 5, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government said that 39 people were killed in various states due to heavy rains and floods which hit the country during the past two weeks.

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Sudanese people try to walk at a flooded bus station in Khartoum on 3 August 2014 (Photo: AFP/Anadolu Agency/Ebrahim Hamid)

The Sudanese cabinet, which held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday, declared a state of high alert to face the anticipated rise in the River Nile levels in the states of Khartoum and the River Nile.

The spokesperson for the Council of Ministers, Omer Mohamed Saleh, said that 39 people died in areas which were hit by rain and floods, pointing that 17 deaths were in Khartoum state, 14 deaths in Gazira and River Nile states, seven deaths in Gadaref and North and South Kordofan states, and one death in Kassala state.

The interior minister, Ismat Abdel-Mageed, told reporters following the meeting that the council of ministers has obliged the states to provide shelter for at least 2,000 before demanding federal support.

Abdel-Mageed said the cabinet demanded finance minister to offer the necessary fund for providing additional food stocks and shelters in the various states, pointing that flooding of the Nile has not yet reached the danger stage.

Meanwhile, Khartoum state governor, Abdel-Rahman al-Khidir, said that his state would need seven years in order to build a drainage network for rainwater and floods.

“We need at least seven years to build an integrated surface drainage network to cover the whole state”, he said with no further details if such a decision has been taken or not.

He stressed that this years’ average rainfall has surpassed the normal average during the past 20 years.

Al-Khidir underscored that his government wouldn’t be able to compensate those who will be evacuated from floodplains according to the presidential directives, wondering from where could the government bring residential lands to compensate such a large number of people.

Khartoum state government was harshly criticised for poor drainage of the rainwater which turned its main roads and strategic sites into ponds of water.

The opposition Reform Now Party (RNP) on Sunday demanded sacking of al-Khidir and his cabinet following inadequate response to the rains and floods.

The governor, in press statements on Tuesday, expressed readiness to resign from his post, considering the move a simple one if it really helps resolving state’s problems.

The emergency committee in Khartoum state said that it received 2800 notices from the state’s all seven localities, pointing that rainfall in the state amounted to 2.025.000 million cubic meters.

The governor of the White Nile state, Youssef al-Shanbali, last week, said that 1,500 homes have been partially or completely destroyed due to rains and floods, directing health authorities to chlorinate drinking water, provide emergency medicines, spray mosquitoes, and address the environmental impacts of rain.

Kassala state authorities said that water levels at Algash River on Monday reached 300cm, saying it endangers all towns lying on the riverbanks.

Meanwhile, Sudan’s General Authority for Meteorology (GAM) said that more rainfall is expected during the coming hours.

Heavy floods have been common in the past few years in Sudan’s east along the Blue Nile but happen more rarely in the capital and the north where much of Sudan’s population live.

Floods and rains that hit different areas in Sudan last year lead to the death of at least 38 people and injured dozens.

(ST)

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