‘Hundreds’ of homes destroyed after Sudan dam collapse

A Sudanese family inspect the damages to their home, after torrential rain led to landslides and flash floods, in the town of Umm Dawan Ban, southeast of Khartoum. (AFP)
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Updated 02 August 2020

‘Hundreds’ of homes destroyed after Sudan dam collapse

  • Pompeo has repeatedly indicated that the State Department hopes to remove the designation, which severely impedes investment in Sudan, but disputes have arisen on a compensation package over the 1998 bombings of two US embassies

KHARTOUM: Hundreds of homes were destroyed or flooded this week as a dam burst after heavy rain in Sudan’s Blue Nile state, a local official said.
The dam collapsed on Thursday in the district of Bout in the southeastern state, “destroying more than 600 homes and flooding others,” Nousseiba Farouk told AFP by phone. Residents successfully evacuated their homes, she said.
Local media said the dam held 5 million cubic meters of water, used for both agriculture and drinking.
“We don’t yet have an exact idea of the damage because we have not been able to reach the flooded area,” Farouk added.
Torrential rains often hit Sudan between June and October, resulting in significant flooding.

Terror listing
Sudan’s government has welcomed remarks from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week that he would like to delist Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, local media reported.
Pompeo has repeatedly indicated that the State Department hopes to remove the designation, which severely impedes investment in Sudan, but disputes have arisen on a compensation package over the 1998 bombings of two US embassies.
The US top diplomat told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday that legislation on a settlement should come before Congress “in the very, very near term.”
According to an English-language report by official news agency SUNA, the Sudanese transitional government on Saturday welcomed Pompeo’s statement and “promised to do its level best to meet the requirements that would help the (American) administration” take “positive action.”
Independent online news site Sudan Tribune reported the government had said in a statement that it “is ready to continue working with the US administration to remove Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and enter into a partnership relationship that benefits both countries.”
Pompeo said that the fall of longtime dictator Omar Al-Bashir following mass protests and the nearly year-old government of a civilian prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, marked “an opportunity that doesn’t come along often.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• More than 600 homes were destroyed.

• Authorities are yet to assess the extent of damage.

• Residents were evacuated successfully from the flooded areas.

“There’s a chance not only for a democracy to begin to be built out, but perhaps regional opportunities that could flow from that as well,” he said.
“I think lifting the state sponsor of terrorism designation there if we can ... take care of the victims of those tragedies would be a good thing for American foreign policy,” Pompeo said.
According to SUNA, Hamdok reaffirmed “his commitment to continue exerting efforts with all friends in the United States and abroad” to bring the issue to a close and for Sudan to fully return to “be part of the international community.”
Bashir had welcomed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and Sudan was accused of aiding militants who blew up the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people and injuring around 5,000 others.
Sudan’s new government has agreed to a compensation package but a dispute has arisen over higher payments to Americans than to Africans, who accounted for the vast majority of the casualties.


Explosion hits Hezbollah building in southern Lebanon

Updated 18 min 34 sec ago

Explosion hits Hezbollah building in southern Lebanon

CAIRO: A huge explosion was heard in southern Lebanon in the village of Ain Qana, according to Lebanese broadcasters and witnesses.

The explosion occurred in an arms depot for Hezbollah in the village, one Lebanese security official in south Lebanon said, without elaborating on the cause. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
An official with the militant group Hezbollah confirmed there was an explosion but declined to give further details, according to the Associated Press. Another local Hezbollah official could not confirm any casualties and said the nature of the blast was not yet clear. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give official statements.

Members of the group imposed a security cordon around the area. Security sources said earlier there were injuries in the blast. 

Pictures from Lebanese news media showed clouds of dark smoke rose from the area. The cause of the blast about 50 km (30 miles) south of Beirut was not immediately clear.

Twitter account Intel Sky shared footage of what the explosion purportedly looks like.

The mysterious explosion comes seven weeks after the massive explosion at Beirut port, caused by the detonation of nearly 3,000 tons of improperly stored ammonium nitrate. The explosion killed nearly 200 people, injured 6,500 and damaged tens of thousands of buildings in the capital, Beirut.
It is still not clear what caused the initial fire that ignited the chemicals, and so far no one has been held accountable.

(with Reuters and AP)