Record flooding in Sudan leaves over 100 dead: hundreds of thousands affected

Since late July, the North African country of Sudan has been facing record flooding. Water levels in the Nile River, which flows through the capital city of Khartoum, have risen a record 57 feet for the first time in nearly a century. The flooding has killed at least 103 people, and affected 550,000 people in 17 of Sudan’s 18 provinces.

The flooding was caused by seasonal rainfall, but this year's rain was far more than expected, causing Sudanese authorities to declare a 3-month long state of emergency on September 7. Climate change expert Marwa Taha attributes the excess rain to climate change, telling Al Jazeera, “[T]his year we've seen an increase in the amount of rainfall because of climate change and so the Nile has flooded more than before. In addition, a lot of trees have been cut down to make place [sic] for residential areas near the Nile, affecting the valleys where the water would flow through.”

In July, Sudan and neighboring nation Ethiopia reached an agreement regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) upstream of the Blue Nile. Despite Ethiopia beginning to fill the dam’s reservoir, the Nile still flooded. However, Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas stated “After the filling of the Renaissance Dam it’s expected that floods won’t happen.”

The Sudan’s government has been struggling to provide adequate aid to affected citizens after struggling for decades of U.S. sanctions, autocratic rule under dictators like Omar al-Bashir, and immense debt. This led authorities to reach out for help from other nations. On September 12, a Qatari military plane arrived at Khartoum International Airport with aid such as food, medicine, medical supplies, and household supplies. The aid will be used to help the hundreds of thousands of flood victims, many of whom are living in tents with limited access to clean water.

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