Sudan Flooding: Impacts and Consequences

Aman Barekzai, EMH2

October 5, 2020


The least developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa, such as Sudan, are becoming more vulnerable to the increasing risks of climate change. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of October 5, up to 800,000 Sudanese have been affected by the record floods since July, and 368,000 have been displaced, with numbers expected to rise.[1] In combination with other crises such as food insecurity, armed conflict, and infectious disease outbreaks, Sudan is facing difficulties in effectively addressing these challenges. By encouraging Agencies, Organizations, and Companies (AOCs) to provide humanitarian assistance, Sudan can help mitigate current and future damage from the floods.


The flooding throughout Sudan caused by seasonal rainfall has surpassed the records set by the natural disasters of 1946 and 1988.[2] Sudan’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources reported the water levels of the Nile River has reached 17.4 meters (57 feet), significantly impacting seventeen of Sudan’s eighteen states. As a result, extensive damage has been reported to critical infrastructure, alongside 560 schools, 3,200 healthcare facilities, 30,000 latrines, and agricultural land.[3] In response, the Sudanese government declared a three-month state of emergency with hopes of supporting those who have been affected. However, a lack of funding has posed a significant threat to the responding Sudanese government and humanitarian organizations. This has caused concern regarding the short-term and long-term impacts the floods will have on Sudan and its citizens.


As a way to combat this in the future, the Sudanese government must allocate funds to improve critical infrastructure throughout the various regions of Sudan. The redesigning and improvement of current systems such as ditches, canals, and culverts, could preserve crucial agricultural land during the rainy season. Likewise, it could mitigate the amount of standing water throughout urban and rural areas, which hinders an efficient response from the Sudanese government and NGOs. Secondly, NGOs should create regional teams and station them throughout the various states of Sudan. These teams would specialize in analyzing the most vulnerable areas throughout Sudan that are in dire need of an emergency response plan. Additionally, members of these teams could provide training on how to efficiently cultivate and protect livestock and crops, as well as educate members of the community on nutrition. By educating Sudanese communities, they will be better prepared against the impacts of natural elements such as drought, flooding, and locust swarms, in addition to reducing cases of malnutrition. . shelter and  Consequently, local merchants have increased prices by up to 400% which makes it difficult for families to decide what they should spend their limited money on. Additionally, the fluctuating inflation prices make it difficult for NGOs to determine how much they should be contributing to help Sudan combat the impact of the floods.


Furthermore, Sudan’s floods highlight the increasing threat of climate change in response to food security. According to the World Food Program (WFP) Country Director of Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth, prior to the floods, over 1.4 million people have been suffering from acute and severe hunger, while 300,000 kids under the age of five are acutely malnourished.nment and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the construction of emergency management field offices across the different states within Sudan can help with preparation, response, and recovery from a national emergency. Each emergency management field office should contain the necessary resources to combat a growing threat within the area, including Sennar state has recorded 21% of farms to be underwater; the Northern state’s farms at 24%; and the Blue Nile at 14%.imes which could result in a better-coordinated response. This is significant because as climate change continues to impact the world, Sudan can become better prepared and rely less on NGOs.


Furthermore, Sudan’s floods highlight the increasing threat of climate change in response to food security. According to World Food Program (WFP) Country Director of Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth, prior to the floods, over 1.4 million people have been suffering from acute and severe hunger, while 300,000 kids under the age of five are acutely malnourished.[7] With two-thirds of Sudan’s population living in rural areas that rely on agriculture to provide for their families, the floods have destroyed livestock and crops right before the harvest, which compromised food security. Farms located near the Nile rivers experienced the most destruction with over 36% of farms still flooded due to standing water.[8] Sennar state has recorded 21% of farms to be underwater; the Northern state’s farms at 24%; and Blue Nile at 14%.[9] These statistics illustrate how the Sudanese have to shift their priorities as they attempt to cope with the economic hardships. For instance, since the floods there has been a significant spike in inflation, reaching up to 170% due to a scarcity of basic necessities.[10] Consequently, local merchants have increased prices by up to 400% which makes it difficult for families to decide what they should spend their limited money on. Additionally, the fluctuating inflation prices makes it difficult for NGOs to determine how much they should be contributing to help Sudan combat the impact of the floods.


As a way to combat this in the future, the Sudanese government must allocate funds to improve critical infrastructure throughout the various regions of Sudan. The redesigning and improvement of current systems such as ditches, canals, and culverts, could preserve crucial agricultural land during the rainy season. Likewise, it could mitigate the amount of standing water throughout urban and rural areas, which hinders an efficient response from the Sudanese government and NGOs. Secondly, NGOs should create regional teams and station them throughout the various states of Sudan. These teams would specialize in analyzing the most vulnerable areas throughout Sudan that are in dire need of an emergency response plan. Additionally, members of these teams could provide training on how to efficiently cultivate and protect livestock and crops, as well as educate members of the community on nutrition. By educating Sudanese communities, they will be better prepared against the impacts of natural elements such as drought, flooding, and locust swarms, in addition to reducing cases of malnutrition.


Alongside the flooding in Sudan, it has also underlined the increasing risk of infectious disease outbreaks, including water-borne and vector-borne diseases. Up to 10 million individuals are at risk of developing water-borne diseases, and more than 4.5 million of contracting vector-borne diseases.[11] Since the floods have destroyed and contaminated critical water infrastructures such as water pumps and latrines, people have been forced to depend on unreliable water sources and restrooms (see image to the left).[12] As a result, outbreaks of malaria, chikungunya, vaccine-derived poliovirus, and hemorrhagic fever have been reported in various regions of Sudan. While also simultaneously battling the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sudanese health system is confronting its biggest challenge yet in prioritizing the outbreaks.


To ensure the protection of the Sudanese from infectious disease outbreaks, there must be international efforts to guarantee access to clean water. As of right now, over 63% of Sudan’s population has no access to basic sanitation and 40% do not have access to basic drinking water services.[13] By restoring the water pumps and latrines, it promotes good hygiene which reduces the risk of contracting an infectious disease. Moreover, the Sudanese government must regularly monitor the water and analyze samples to assure the general public the water is clean and safe. By taking preventative action, it could potentially prevent an outbreak and save lives. NGOs can dispatch teams throughout the urban and rural areas of Sudan in which they can educate different communities on proper sanitation and waste management methods. Although the international community is responding to the best of their abilities, it is imperative Sudan obtains sufficient funding. The 2020 response plan in Sudan calls for $1.63 billion USD but has only received $770.7 million USD.[14] The unmet requirements have slowed down response from the Sudanese government and NGOs, risking the lives of the Sudanese.


The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) works to detect, deter, and defeat terrorism around the world by analyzing worldwide data, searching for hidden information, developing knowledge, and providing solutions. The CTG Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards (EMH2) Team works to bring awareness to By restoring the water pumps and latrines, it promotes good hygiene which reduces the risk of contracting an infectious disease. Moreover, the Sudanese government must regularly monitor the water and analyze samples to assure the general public the water is clean and safe. By taking preventative action, it could potentially prevent an outbreak and save lives. NGOs can dispatch teams throughout the urban and rural areas of Sudan in which they can educate different communities on proper sanitation and waste management methods. Although the international community is responding to the best of their abilities, it is imperative Sudan obtains sufficient funding. The 2020 response plan in Sudan calls for $1.63 billion USD but has only received $770.7 million USD.D.


________________________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1] South Sudan: Flooding Snapshot (As of 05 October 2020), Reliefweb, October 2020, https://reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/south-sudan-flooding-snapshot-05-october-2020

[2] Sudan declares 3-month state of emergency over floods - SUNA, Reuters, September 2020, https://news.trust.org/item/20200905002717-l75jl

[3] Sudan | Situation Report, OCHA, October 2020, https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/sudan/

[4] Ibid.

[5] “South Sudan: Makeshift Camp” by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid licensed under Public Domain

[6] Ibid.

[7] South Sudan Flooding Plunges 700,000 Into Hunger, Livelihood Crisis, VOA, September 2020, https://www.voanews.com/covid-19-pandemic/south-sudan-flooding-plunges-700000-hunger-livelihood-crisis

[8] Sudan Flood Hazard - Croplands, Reliefweb, September 2020, https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/1_-_SDN_FloodAffected_Cropland_PERCENTAGE_20200909_NUoelnq.pdf

[9] Sudan | Situation Report, OCHA, October 2020, https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/sudan/

[10] Sudan alert: Flooding and surging inflation threaten humanitarian assistance, UN News, October 2020, https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/10/1074512

[11] Sudan | Situation Report, OCHA, October 2020, https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/sudan/

[12] “Raised Latrines ahead of Floods” by Oxam East Africa licensed under Public Domain

[13] Ibid.

[14] Sudan 2020 (Humanitarian response” by Oxfam East Africa licensed under fts.unocha.org/appeals/870/summary



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