Seasonal floods kill 77 in Sudan

Published : 18 Aug 2022 09:13 PM

More than 70 people have been killed and 14,500 homes destroyed by Sudan's seasonal downpours and floods, a senior official said Thursday.

The death toll since the rainy season kicked off in May stood at 77 people, Brig. Gen. Abdul-Jalil Abdul-Rahim, spokesman for Sudan’s National Council for Civil Defense, told The Associated Press.

The provinces most affected include North Kordofan, Jazira, South Kordofan, South Darfur and River Nile, he added. On Monday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that more than 136,000 people have been affected by floods in the eastern Sudan and Kordofan states. The UN agency said it expected this figure to increase as the counting was still underway and heavy rains had been forecast. Sudan’s rainy season usually lasts until September, with floods peaking just before then.

Last year, flooding and heavy rain killed more than 80 people and swamped tens of thousands of houses across the country. In 2020, authorities declared Sudan a natural disaster area and imposed a three-month state of emergency across the country after the deluge killed around 100 people and inundated over 100,000 houses.

According to previous AP report, since the start of the rainy season in May, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that an estimated 38,000 people have been affected by the floods across the East African country.

So far, the areas hardest hit include Kassala, South Darfur, Central Darfur, South Kordofan, the White Nile and the River Nile provinces.

Seasonal flooding will occur due to spring rains or snowmelt, which can increase the rivers flow. When a flood occurs, the channel of the river or stream is filled; that means water will move into the floodplain and the water will slow down. As the water slows, that means it can carry less material.

Flooding can occur slowly as rain continues to fall for many days. This type of flooding, sometimes called a slow-onset flood, can take a week to develop and can last for months before floodwaters recede. Rapid-onset floods occur more quickly, typically developing within hours or days. 

In September 2020, profuse and continuous rainfall in Sudan caused a devastating flood across 17 out of the 18 states Sudanese states with the Blue Nile reaching water levels not seen for nearly a century. It ranks among the most severe floods recorded in the region. A state of emergency was declared, and teams have worked to prevent damage to threatened archaeological sites. The flood affected more than 3,000,000 people, destroyed more than 100,000 homes, and left more than 100 people dead.

Some experts, such as International Rivers, expect climate change to cause periodic bouts of drought and flooding in the future. According to UNOCHA, heavy rains and flash floods affected about 314,500 people across the country as of 29 September 2021, overwhelming the local response capacity. More than 15,000 homes were destroyed, over 46,000 homes were damaged, and an unconfirmed number of public infrastructure facilities and farmlands have been affected. Heavy rain and flooding have been reported in 14 out of 18 states, including Blue Nile, Gedaref, Aj Jazirah, Khartoum, North Kordofan, Northern, River Nile, Sennar, South Darfur, South Kordofan, West Darfur, West Kordofan and White Nile River Nile. Aj Jazirah, South Darfur, Gedaref and West Darfur are the most affected states. Nile River water levels have been rising since mid-July and currently Nile River water levels have surpassed flooding levels at the Khartoum station (Khartoum State), Ed Deim station (Blue Nile State), and at the Atbara and Shendi stations in River Nile State. The rainy season in Sudan is usually from June to September.