Climate Change

Half a million people may be affected by floods in Sudan this year

Floods in Sudan this year could aggravate food insecurity, the United Nations and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have warned

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Tuesday 13 September 2022

Photo: @SRCS_SD (Sudanese Red Crescent) / Twitter
Photo: @SRCS_SD (Sudanese Red Crescent) / Twitter

Floods in Sudan might affect more than 460,000 people this year, an analysis by Down To Earth of data released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) September 12, showed.

This would be an increase of over 46 per cent people affected in the country due to floods in 2021. Last year, about 314,500 people were affected across Sudan. 

The number of people likely to be displaced this year might also be much more than the average number of people displaced in the last five years — 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. 

The Sudan government had announced a state of emergency August 21, 2022 in the Aj Jazirah, Kassala, River Nile, South Darfur, West Kordofan and White Nile states because of floods.

As of 12 September 2022, at least 286,400 people have been affected by floods in 16 of 18 Sudanese provinces, according to the government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).

Some 67 per cent of the affected people are in five states including Gedaref (58,935 people), Central Darfur (41,747), White Nile (34,357), South Darfur (30,677) and Kassala (25,890). 

Other states where people have been affected due to floods are Northern (18,046), River Nile (16,572), West Darfur (15,504), North Kordofan (13,185), Aj Jazirah (8,715), West Kordofan (6,030), South Kordofan (5,765), Sennar (5,379) and East Darfur (3,650). Khartoum (1,296) and North Darfur (686) are athe least-affected. 

At least 60,700 homes have been affected. Of these, 16,900 homes have been destroyed. At least 118 people have died and more than 118 people have been injured since the beginning of the rainy season in June, according to the National Council for Civil Defence, Sudan.

People have lost over 2,150 heads of livestock. In addition 5,100 hectares of agricultural land have been affected by floods, which will exacerbate the already worrying levels of food insecurity people across the country are facing, UNOCHA said September 12.  

This includes land in the second-largest irrigation area in Sudan, Al Managil in the state of Gezira.

Climate change to blamed 

The extreme flood events in Sudan have been attributed to the climate crisis, even though the country has contributed least to its cause. Sudan is among the top 20 countries most vulnerable globally to damage from an increase in the frequency of major flooding events. This is according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

The IPCC report said:

On average, across large African river basins, the frequency of flood events with a current return period of 100 years is projected to increase to 1 in 40 years at 1.5°C and 2°C global warming, and 1 in 21 years at 4°C warming, with Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the top 20 countries globally for projected damages

The floods in 2022, may lead to a very poor harvest season, aggravating the already stressed food insecurity situation of the country, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said September 9.

Food prices will thus likely remain extremely high through the November 2022-January 2023 harvest. Despite some improvements in livestock prices and wage labour rates, household purchasing power is projected to remain well below average. This will negatively impacting household market food access.

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