GENEVA - The United Nations reports hundreds of thousands of Sudanese affected by what is described as the worst flooding in a century are in desperate need of emergency aid to help them survive this humanitarian disaster.
The U.N. appeal comes after torrential rains in Ethiopia over the last few days triggered severe flooding downstream in Sudan. The floodwaters have caused the Nile River to reach the highest level in 100 years.
The consequences are catastrophic.
The Sudanese government reports at least 90 people have been killed and 380,000 affected across the country. It says nearly 80,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, rendering hundreds of thousands of people homeless. In addition, 34 schools and nearly 2,700 health facilities have been put out of commission.
The spokesman for the U.N. office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs, Jens Laerke, says this crisis is unfolding as the coronavirus spreads across the country.
“Access to clean water, critical in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, has also been affected…. Some 2,000 water sources are contaminated or non-functional, according to initial assessments. In Khartoum, now in a state of emergency, the immediate need is to shore up the banks of the Nile and provide shelter to the homeless,” Laerke said.
On Sunday, the Sudanese government declared a state of emergency in Khartoum state where more than 21,000 people have been affected by flooding. The World Health Organization reports more than 13,000 cases, including 833 deaths from the coronavirus in Sudan.
Laerke said U.N. and private aid agencies are providing emergency shelter, household supplies, food, water, health services and other essential relief to flood survivors across the country.
“A quick response has been possible because the government, U.N. agencies and our partners had pre-positioned supplies to respond to the needs of 250,000 people before the rains started. But these stocks are being depleted rapidly,” he said.
Laerke said the U.N. and other agencies do not have enough money to meet the needs of the growing number of flood-affected people and is appealing for more support from donors.
He said this appeal is in addition to the U.N.’s Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2020, which was issued earlier in the year. He noted that less than 44% of the $1.6 billion requested so far has been received, making a generous response from donors even more critical than before.