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As Sudan Flooding Worsens, Red Cross/Red Crescent Raises Appeal

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says flood waters continue to rise in northern and eastern Sudan. Overflowing rivers are inundating towns and villages, as well as farm lands. As a result, the federation is more than doubling its appeal for funds to more than four and a half million dollars. Nearly 100 people are reported to have died in the floods.

John English heads the emergency assessment team for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Sudan. From Khartoum, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the need for more funds.

“Based on our initial assessments, we put an appeal out three weeks ago. That was really based on what we knew initially. Since then we have had teams in the field. We’re working closely with Sudan Red Crescent and they have teams in the field. They’re going around and assessing.

“You have to understand that the situation is evolving here. There are fresh waves of flooding. Some areas are still inaccessible. So according to what we know, let’s say a month into the flooding, we have an estimate of 60,000 households that have been…affected by this. That equates to 300,000 people. So the scale of this is simply getting bigger,” he says.

English explains where the areas of the worst flooding are. “The worst flooding, according to the information we have at the moment, extends from the area of Upper Nile, which is a place called Renk on the White Nile, into North Kordofan, which is east of Khartoum. Also eastern Sudan, running up from Blue Nile State, which is on the Ethiopian border through Gedaref and Kassala, also on the eastern border…as well as the areas south of Khartoum between the two Niles, which is called the Gezira,” says English.

The current flooding in Sudan is the worst since 1988. “We are also very concerned about the outbreaks of disease caused by water-borne vectors. The floodwater is in many places still standing. It provides an ideal breeding ground for diseases, such as dysentery and acute watery diarrhea,” he says.

The federation and its affiliate, the Sudan Red Crescent, are providing water and sanitation assistance, shelter, basic health care and relief items.