The floods continue in northern and eastern Sudan and the number of people affected by the heavy rains and overflowing rivers is rising.
John English is head of the emergency assessment team for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. From Khartoum, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the effects of the floods.
“As the situation currently stands, I think that we could probably talk about 100,000 households that have been affected by the flooding. So, we’ve had an increase in the last few weeks. At the moment we can probably say around a half million people have been affected by the ongoing flooding. We’re seeing new areas being affected by rainfall and we’re seeing re-flooding in some of the areas that were affected right at the beginning,” he says.
This is the peak of the rainy season, according to English. “So the situation is developing, but certainly the misery caused by this flooding is continuing and affecting more people,” says English.
Some areas remain inaccessible by road and have been isolated for several weeks. Helicopter is the only way to reach those areas. Planes can’t land because there are no runways.
English says that with the flooding has brought outbreaks of diarrhea and respiratory tract infections or worsened outbreaks that already existed. “In the east of Sudan around the areas of Gedaref and Kassala there has been an increase in the number of cases reported of acute water diarrhea, which is basically cholera,” he says.
About 700 cases of cholera have been reported, but Sudanese health officials and the Sudanese Red Crescent have been supplying medicine. “At the moment it seems to be under control…however with the ongoing flooding we probably expect the situation is going to continue…we’ve also been getting reports of a meningitis outbreak in Kordofan.”