Flooding in Sudan: CRS Emergency Response

Catholic Relief Services is distributing emergency materials to almost 2,000 families affected by this month’s flash floods in the greater Khartoum area.

During the second week of July, flash floods across central and eastern Sudan claimed at least 30 lives, injured another 100 people and destroyed 25,000 homes, according to the Sudan Ministry of Interior. The flood waters swamped outlying areas of the capital of Khartoum one day after sweeping through the capital’s twin city of Omdurman and Kassala, a town near the Eritrean border in the east.

CRS joined U.N. agencies, donors and other aid agencies in conducting rapid needs-assessment missions after the flooding in three large camps in the greater Khartoum area for people displaced by the north-south war: Mayo, Jebel Awila and Khartoum North. Assessments revealed more than 10,000 families affected, with the heavy rains destroying camp shelters, schools, mosques and health facilities in the area. The enormous amount of water also flooded latrines, polluted wells and destroyed water systems, leaving communities vulnerable to malaria, diarrhea and respiratory infections.

“The assessment showed that 75 percent of the houses were underwater and 90 percent of the latrines were no longer usable,” explains Hani El-Mahdi, CRS Sudan’s head of programming. “Affected people urgently need emergency supplies, which CRS is helping to distribute with our local partners.”

CRS is currently distributing essential supplies to 1,963 affected households in the Jebel Awila camp. Having been active in this camp since 2005, CRS is leveraging close ties with two community-based organizations to distribute plastic sheeting, blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans, buckets and soap — all provided by U.N. Joint Logistics Center. CRS and its partners plan to distribute 4,000 mosquito nets provided by UNICEF to avert risk of malaria infection.

Caritas Austria provided CRS with a grant of 20,000 Euros (U.S. $27,557) for emergency response to the floods. In addition to supporting materials distribution, these funds will be used to rehabilitate public latrines in the camp and erect tents to serve as temporary classrooms in three schools in Jebel Awlia.

CRS will continue to coordinate with other aid agencies to monitor and address the needs of affected people.

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