Sudan Suffers from Worst Flooding in Recent Memory

by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

In the latter half of 2020, Sudan experienced devastating flooding. By the end of September, the U.N. World Food Program country director in South Sudan said that the country needed immediate aid to avoid “catastrophic hunger” levels. Since then, nearly 1 million people have been displaced or isolated by months of flooding, while rising waters have washed away crops, which could leave the country in famine. A report from the AP gave an account of unspeakable tragedy, as local citizens described walking for hours in chest-deep water to find food and medical treatments. 

When the main tributary of the Nile flooded, it caused the death of over 100 people and the damage of over 100,000 homes, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Why this Matters: This intense flooding has caused a variety of public health crises. As the coronavirus has spread throughout the world, the lack of medical care available in Sudan due to the flooding has made combatting it particularly difficult. Moreover, the floodwaters themselves cause diseases, making it difficult to diagnose and treat potentially life-threatening illnesses. Nyaduoth Kun, a mother of five, told the AP: “There are many diseases living among us, so we can’t figure out if it’s coronavirus or not.”

Sudan ranks 107th out of 117 countries in the Global Hunger Index, as one of the top 10 most food-insecure countries in the world, making it particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and crop damage.

Flooding Destabilizes the Sudanese Government: The flooding has increased discontent with Sudan’s transitional government, which came to power in 2019. In February, the country’s president, Salva Kiir, and former opposition leader Riek Machar announced a unity government after seven years of civil war, but the flooding has incited violence and has threatened Sudan’s tenuous stability. Kiir and Machar had been tasked with providing for communities suffering as a result of the flooding, but Sudanese citizens have been losing faith in their leaders. 

The government’s acting deputy director in the Old Fangak area, Kueth Gach Monydhot, told the AP: “We don’t have hope, we lost confidence in them.”

To avert further violence, The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization representative in South Sudan, Meshak Malo, has suggested that the parties that signed Sudan’s peace agreement to establish safe humanitarian access to prevent conditions from deteriorating further. 

 

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