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Iraq launches 'air and land' bridge to help flood-hit Sudan

A view of a site damaged by flood during heavy rains in Sudan [Anadolu/Getty]

Date of publication: 10 September, 2020

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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi has ordered for humanitarian aid to be delivered to Sudan.
Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has ordered an "air and sea bridge" to be opened to flood-hit Sudan, The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported, to help with relief efforts.

Floods caused by more than a month of heavy rains in Sudan have killed 99 people, in one of the worst natural disasters in the country for decades.

Iraqi military cargo planes started transporting aid to Sudan on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by Al-Kadhimi 's office and reported by the Iraqi News Agency (INA).

The aid deliveries include medical supplies, tens of thousands of food baskets and tents to accommodate those who have lost their home.

Iraq's prime minister has also ordered 10,000 tonnes of wheat to be shipped from Basra ports to Sudan.

"Al-Kadhimi's directive comes within the framework of the Iraqi government and people's keenness to strengthen brotherly bonds with brothers, and to stand with the State of Sudan, which is experiencing extremely difficult humanitarian conditions due to the floods," the Iraqi government statement said.

The ministries of agriculture and industry have also been ordered to prepare a list of aid supplies that could be provided to Sudan in the next two days, The New Arab's correspondent in Baghdad reported.

According to sources, the ministry of defence will carry out the transportation of humanitarian supplies to Sudan, along with Iraqi Airways and the Iraqi Ports Company.

The sources said the first deliveries of aid will arrive within hours via an Iraqi military cargo plane.

Sudan on Saturday declared a three-month national state of emergency after torrential floods caused misery for thousands.

"A nationwide three-month state of emergency has been announced as Sudan is considered a natural disaster zone," the interior ministry said on social media.

Along with killing 99 people, 46 have been injured and 100,000 properties damaged, according to state news agency SUNA.

North Darfur in the country's west, and Sennar state in the south, were among the hardest hit areas.

Heavy rains usually fall in Sudan from June to October, and the country faces severe flooding every year.

"The Blue Nile has reached an all-time high since records began more than a century ago," said the irrigation and water ministry last week.

The latest report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan said Thursday that over 380,000 people had already been "affected" by this year's floods.

The whole flooding season in 2019 affected 400,000 people, according to an OCHA spokesperson.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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