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Heavy Rains and Floods Destroy Houses, Dam, Kill 5 in Sudan

This Jan. 9, 2020, photo, shows a general view of the Blue Nile over Khartoum, Sudan.
This Jan. 9, 2020, photo, shows a general view of the Blue Nile over Khartoum, Sudan.

Women and children slept in the open amid heavy rainfall after flooding inundated hundreds of homes in Sudan's Blue Nile province and left five people dead across the country, authorities said Sunday.

Bout, a town of 100,000 people, has been severely hit by heavy rains and floods over the past week with at least 1,200 houses destroyed, the Sudanese Red Crescent said. More than 120 houses in the nearby town of Wed Abuk were also destroyed.

Footage circulated online showed floodwaters cutting off roads and sweeping away houses and people's belongings. Swaths of agricultural land in the area were also flooded.

Most in the region are internally displaced people who live off agriculture and are vulnerable to the annual flooding, according to resident Musab Sharif.

Hundreds of families were left sleeping in the open amid rain that lasted until late Saturday, he said.

The heavy rainfall also caused the collapse of the Bout Dam, local official Nusaiba Farouk Kalol, told The Associated Press over the phone. At least 600 families remained stranded amid flooding caused by both the rainfall and the collapse of the dam, she said.

"The water surrounded them. There was no access to those families as the water flooded the area from three directions," she said.

Kalol warned about a massive wave of displacement in Bout, which is 180 kilometers (111 miles) from the provincial capital, al-Damazin.

In the capital Khartoum, floods triggered by heavy rainfall inundated around 1,000 houses, said Interior Minister Lt. Gen. al-Tarifi Idris.

Across the country, at least 2,380 houses were destroyed or damaged from the flooding, Idris said in a statement. More than two dozen schools and mosques along with 78 shops and storehouses were also damaged, he said.

The floods left five people dead; four from the collapsing houses while the fifth drowned, the interior minister said. He didn't say when or where those people died.

Last year, flooding killed a total of 78 people in 16 of Sudan's 18 provinces, between July and August, according to the United Nations.