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Thousands Homeless in Nile Floods

Ten of thousands of people have been left homeless in record White Nile floods as death count mounts to at least 102 people. The Sudanese government declared a three-month state of emergency this week.

A resident removes buckets of waters from the Blue Nile floods within the Al-Ikmayr area of Omdurman in Khartoum. © REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

On Monday, authorities in Sudan declared a national state of emergency and designated the country a natural disaster zone.

The floods have so far impacted more than half-a-million people and caused the total and partial collapse of more than 100,000 homes in at least 16 Sudanese states.

The flooding was triggered by heavy seasonal rains, mainly in neighbouring Ethiopia, which caused the Nile River to rise to nearly 17.5 metres (roughly 57 feet) this past weekend: the highest level in 100 years, according to the authorities.

OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke said the government has declared a state of emergency in Khartoum state alone, where more than 21,000 people have been affected by flooding since the end of July.

“Access to clean water - critical in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic - has also been affected”, said Mr Laerke, speaking from Geneva. “Some 2,000 water sources are contaminated or non-functional, according to initial assessments.”

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR has said that with the help of the United Arab Emirates it flew 100 metric tonnes of relief material including blankets, which will be distributed across 12 states. According to the UNHCR, an estimate of 125,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been gravely affected by the floods.

Spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said rains have been particularly heavy in North Darfur state, leaving an estimated 35,000 IDPs, locals and refugees in need of help, where 15 people have died and a further 23 have gone missing.

“In Khartoum’s ‘Open Areas’ on the outskirts of the city, many South Sudanese refugees were living in make-shift homes and are in dire need of shelter,” she said.

“UNHCR is deeply saddened at the death of an 18-month old refugee girl who drowned in a collapsed latrine.”

Some 85,000 internally displaced and 40,000 refugees have been affected by the floods in Khartoum, in eastern Sudan, along the White Nile and the restive Darfur region who urgently needed help, UNHCR said in a statement.

While the needs of 250,000 people who had been pre-positioned before the rains started have been met, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is calling for wider support from the international community as a $1.6 billion humanitarian plan for Sudan is less than 44 per cent funded. wider support from the international community as a $1.6 billion humanitarian plan for Sudan is less than 44 per cent funded.

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