Thousands of Sudan homes destroyed in floods

AFP
A girl washes her feet with standing water on August 1, 2014 next to a watering point at the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Upper Nile State capital Malakal, South Sudan
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Khartoum (AFP) - More than 3,000 homes have been destroyed by floods that hit almost half of Sudan's states over Ramadan and the Eid Al-Fitr holidays, official media said on Saturday.

The capital Khartoum was among the areas inundated, prompting an opposition party to accuse the government of lying about its preparedness, after deadly floods in the city last year.

"Twenty-two districts in eight states were affected by flooding and heavy rain," the SUNA news agency reported, citing the federal health ministry.

There were 184 injuries during the deluge which affected around 6,100 families, about half of them in Nile and North Kordofan states, SUNA said.

Water also poured into Khartoum homes when rain and high winds lashed the region last Tuesday night and on July 25 at the start of the rainy season.

Many people in the capital region live in homes which are poorly constructed or built from mud bricks, leaving them vulnerable to sudden torrents of water.

An AFP journalist on Saturday found residents climbing through the rubble of their collapsed houses.

Among the victims were more than 3,000 inhabitants of Jaborona, near Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, said Kabi Jeremiah, humanitarian attache at the South Sudanese embassy.

Shelters housing South Sudanese there have been destroyed, he told AFP on Thursday.

Residents tried to move their meagre belongings to dry ground while they manually dug out channels to drain the water, Jeremiah added.

Thousands of impoverished South Sudanese have been living in rough shelters in Jaborona and numerous other outdoor settlements in the Khartoum area.

They have been waiting in vain for assistance to travel to South Sudan after the country's independence three years ago.

In August last year, the Khartoum region was hardest hit by floods which swamped Sudan.

At that time the United Nations said more than 180,000 people were affected by the worst flooding in the capital for a quarter of a century.

There were about 50 deaths nationwide, most of them in Khartoum.

"Khartoum state is telling lies about its preparation for the rainy season," the opposition Reform Now party said in a statement on Saturday.

It called for the suspension of Khartoum governor Abdel Rahman Al-Khidir "because he completely failed to have a solution to the rainy crisis which is repeated every year".

Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani, a former adviser to President Omar al-Bashir, founded Reform Now last year after the ruling National Congress Party expelled him for dissent.

On Friday Malik Bashir, an engineer who heads Khartoum state's rainfall emergency bureau, "asserted stability of the situation" after water drained into the Blue and White Nile rivers, SUNA reported.

On Wednesday he said that "all state organs are operating at their maximum to face any eventuality" while the government ordered staff back from holiday, "thus mobilising all its resources to face the situation".

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