RIYADH: Two flights carrying urgent food and shelter aid as part of a humanitarian air bridge from Saudi Arabia to those affected by floods in Sudan have arrived in Khartoum on Tuesday, the Saudi Press Agency said.
“In (the) implementation of directives of King Salman, two relief airplanes, representing the first batch of the Saudi airlift dispatched by KSrelief left Riyadh loaded with food and shelter assistance for Sudan prior to transferring them to areas affected by floods,” the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center’s media department told Arab News.
It said a specialist team from the center accompanied the two planes to follow up and supervise the relief distribution process.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of KSrelief, said in a statement that the aid includes food and shelter materials weighing more than 100 tons.
Al-Rabeeah said the Saudi leadership had directed the relief aid to be sent to the Sudanese after the country was hit by a wave of torrential rains that led to several deaths and injuries, and caused massive property losses.
A Sudanese official said Tuesday the death toll from flash floods in the country since the start of the rainy season had climbed to 83.
Brig. Gen. Abdul-Jalil Abdul-Rahim, spokesman for Sudan’s National Council for Civil Defense, said that at least 36 people have been injured since May. More than 18,200 houses had been “completely destroyed” across the country while around at least 25,600 were partly damaged.
The United Nations said more than 146,200 people had been affected by floods. Footage aired by local media shows rising waters submerging villages. Authorities have declared a state of emergency in six of the country’s 18 provinces.
The western Darfur region and the provinces of Nile River, White Nile, West Kordofan and South Kordofan are among the hardest hit, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA.
UN agencies suffer from significant funding shortages. OCHA said donors provided around $608 million for Sudan’s humanitarian response so far this year — less than a third of what is required for this year.
(With the Associated Press)