Sudan declares state of emergency over deadly floods

Sudan declares state of emergency over deadly floods
A man walks beside a flooded road in the town of Shaqilab, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Khartoum, Sudan. (File/AP)
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Updated 09 September 2020

Sudan declares state of emergency over deadly floods

Sudan declares state of emergency over deadly floods
  • Flooding caused by seasonal heavy rainfall led the Nile River to rise about 17.5 meters late in August
  • The ministry said water levels of the Blue Nile are higher than the 1988 flood levels that destroyed tens of thousands of homes in several parts of Sudan

CAIRO: Sudanese authorities declared their country a natural disaster area and imposed a three-month state of emergency across the country after rising floodwaters and heavy rainfall killed around 100 people and inundated over 100,000 houses since late July.
The announcement was made late Friday following a meeting of the country’s Defense and Security Council which is headed by a top government official, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan.
Flooding caused by seasonal heavy rainfall, mostly in neighboring Ethiopia, led the Nile River to rise about 17.5 meters late in August, the highest level it has reached in about a century according to the Sudanese Irrigation Ministry.
The ministry said water levels of the Blue Nile are higher than the 1988 flood levels that destroyed tens of thousands of homes in several parts of Sudan and displaced over one million people.
Labor and Social Development Minister Lina Al-Sheikh said the flooding had killed some 100 people, as well as injured at least 46 people and affected more than 500,000 people across the country. More than 100,000 houses across the country were totally or partly collapsed, she said.
The UN humanitarian agency has warned that the situation is expected to get worse over the coming weeks, as above-average rains are forecast until the end of September.
The capital of Khartoum was hit hard in the past two weeks. Residents in several districts of the city were seen erecting barricades and other shields as water from the Nile swept through several neighborhoods, in footage circulating online.
The military deployed troops to help evacuate people and build barricades in Khartoum as well as distribute food, after flooding there cut roads and swept away houses and belongings.
Earlier this week, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, said access to clean water, which is critical amid the coronavirus pandemic, has also been reduced, with the floods knocking out or contaminating some 2,000 water sources.
OCHA said last week that the flooding also damaged at least 43 schools and 2,671 health facilities across the country, and that large swaths of agricultural land across the country were also flooded in the middle of the harvest season.
The UN refugee agency, or UNHCR, said tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people were affected, particularly in North Darfur province, where 15 people have died and a further 23 have gone missing.
OCHA urged wider support from the international community, as a $1.6 billion humanitarian plan for Sudan is less than 44% funded and aid stocks have been “depleted rapidly.”
Seasonal rains and flooding last year left a total of 78 people dead in 16 of Sudan’s 18 provinces, between July and August, according to the UN


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 03 December 2020

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.