Title photo and above; Aljazeera English News.
We are gathering data on the impact this year’s severe flooding in Khartoum has had on the communities we work with and I will update this blogpost as soon as I can on the relief work we are undertaking to protect the women and girls we serve. Tragically many of the areas we work in, such as Jebel Awlia and Karari, are among the worst affected by the flooding Below is a brief overview of the situation as reported by OCHA Sudan and major news outlets. Community latrines, school and literacy centre buildings are highly vulnerable to flood damage and impoverished communities with little health infrastructure are reeling under the effects of recent flooding.
“Flooding has resulted in hundreds of schools being damaged or destroyed (including equipment, furniture and learning materials) as well as dozens of schools hosting displaced persons seeking shelter. Tens of thousands of children are now at risk of not being able to return to school; school is scheduled to start on 27 September. Children’s education has already faced serious disruption due to COVID19-related school closures, which has resulted in significant learning losses, and is now at risk of further interruption due to floods.” OCHA Sudan 2020 Flood Report
Over the past three months, Sudan has suffered the worst flooding in over a hundred years. More destructive in their intensity than even the floods of 1946 or 1988, this year’s floods have hit over half a million Sudanese, with 100,000 people needing immediate relief and shelter, 120,000 homes destroyed and a rising death toll now in the hundreds. In Khartoum, thousands are wading waist-deep through flood waters, trying to reach what is left of their homes, as access to clean water and food becomes ever more difficult and health services already gravely depleted by the Covid pandemic, battle growing outbreaks of water and vector-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and malaria. Stagnant flood waters, breeding grounds for bilharzia and watery diarrhea, have been contaminated with sewage as aging drainage systems are overwhelmed. Khartoum, with a population of 14 million, is home to millions of internally displaced who have fled desertification and war in other regions of Sudan and its creaking infrastructure, a legacy of colonial rule, struggles to meet flood victims’ needs.
Below, OCHA Sudan flood assessment data, 6th September, 2020.
Atallah Bashir, interviewed by Aljazeera (see below), says “I’m an 82 year old man and in my life time I’ve never seen anything even close to this. I only managed to escape with just the clothes on my back.”
Food insecurity, increasingly acute as a result of Covid containment measures, has worsened as major agricultural regions such as Kassala have seen all their crops destroyed. A government working to overcome a thirty-year legacy of political instability, debt and lack of investment in infrastructure is struggling with a faltering economy and an inflation rate of 140% as of July this year. Despite the recently declared three-month state of emergency, there is widespread public frustration with the lack of effective rapid relief response and international aid, though desperately needed, is slow in arriving, with donor apathy a major factor.
See more in this brief Aljazeera report:
Many news outlets report that longstanding political turmoil and internal conflict in Sudan has resulted in a lack of will and resources to confront grave climate change phenomena increasingly affecting a country on the frontline of alarming annual temperature rises, weather volatility, drought and flooding. These phenomena drive mass migration to cities ill equipped to deal with natural disasters, in turn fueling more conflict and instability. Longterm planning to relocate the millions who live on and from the Nile is needed. There is controversy and grave concern over the impact on Nile waters access that the building of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will have and many are calling for a renewal of the pre-2010 Nile Basin initiatives aimed at securing consensus and protection of Nile waters for countries directly affected. The Sudanese government recently squashed rumors that the Jebel Awlia dam had developed cracks but some experts have raised concerns about the safety of vast dams such as the Renaissance Dam and are advocating numerous small dams in Sudan as a solution to water and energy needs.
Learn more in this Aljazeera report discussing the impact of climate change on Sudan.
This is a literacy post for Women’s Education Partnership.
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