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Qatar to send emergency aid to flood-stricken Sudan

More than 100 people have died in the floods [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 September, 2020

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Emergency Qatari aid will be sent to Sudan, authorities announced on Sunday, as the flood-stricken country was declared a natural disaster zone.
Qatar has announced it will send emergency aid to Sudan, where weeks of flooding has devastated the country.

Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani directed relevant authorities to dispatch urgent relief to Sudan on Sunday, following a phone call between Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Thani and his Sudanese counterpart Abdullah Hamdok.

The emergency aid will help millions affected by the flooding which has destroyed more than 100,000 homes and killed at least 100 people.

The move came after Sudan announced a three-month long state of emergency on Sunday.

The Sudanese security and defence council, which declared the country as a "national disaster zone", said that a committee had been formed to coordinate a response to the crisis.

Lena El-Sheikh, the country’s minister of labour and social development, said that the flooding had impacted half a million people and resulted in either the partial or total damage of over 100,000 homes.

Heavy seasonal rains in the neighbouring Ethiopia caused much of the floods, with the Nile River rising to nearly 17.5 metres at the end of August – its highest level in 100 years, according to the Sudanese authorities.

The minister also said that this year's rain and flooding broke records set in 1946 and 1988 amid fears of continued rising indicators.

States hit-hardest include Khartoum, Blue Nile and River Nile. The UN has additionally reported damage in the Gezira, Gadarif, West Kordofan and South Darfur region.

The UN is supporting the national response through providing emergency shelter and supplies to households, as well as water, hygiene assistance and health services.

While the UN response has been fast, with supplies for 250,000 people pre-positioned before the rain started, it is now calling for wider support from the international community as its stocks are diminishing.

The country's rainy season begins in June, continuing through to October, causing the country to experience floods and torrential rains annually.

The floods come despite the controversial construction upstream of a 145-metres (475-foot) tall hydroelectric dam across the Blue Nile, and the vast reservoir behind that Ethiopia has begun filling.

Both Sudan and Egypt view the mega dam as a threat to their water supplies, but heavy rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands has eased fears of water shortages in the short term.

But some experts, such as the US-based research and campaign group International Rivers, have warned that changing weather patterns due to climate change could result in irregular episodes of flooding and drought in the Blue Nile's drainage basin.

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