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A Call for Humanitarian Aid & Action in Response to Torrential Rainfall & Flash Flooding

By: Elfadil Osman

Reviewed by: Professor Suad Sulaiman

 Torrential rains and flash flooding have worsened the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sudan. The response so far has been aid deployed by humanitarian organizations and support from Gulf nations, but this aid is presently insufficient, and concerns are rising as flooding is projected to be especially catastrophic this year. This is the fourth year in a row that there has been abnormally extensive flooding.

 Every year, flooding brings with it the immediate and swift destruction of homes, infrastructure, crops, and the loss of cattle and livestock. There is the additional protracted impact on health as there is a disruption in access to clean drinking water, and a concurrent increase in communicable diseases that flourish with flooding and pooling water, such as cholera, malaria, and water-related diarrhea.

 The humanitarian response to this year’s floods has faced major challenges, namely critical gaps in relief items and physical access restrictions.

 Response capacity mapping, used to analyze emergency or crisis preparedness, was    carried out in June. Major gaps were reported in Food Security and Livelihood (FSL), Shelter and Non-Food Items (S/NFI), Nutrition, Health, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) supplies.

 Impeding the delivery of the available humanitarian aid supplies are flood waters in several states temporarily restricting the movement of commercial and humanitarian supplies.

 In Al-Jazirah, the road from Wad Medani to Al-Managil locality has left it inaccessible for aid workers. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports they “will scale up the assistance as soon as some of the areas that have been cut off are accessible again and we can deliver the supplies for affected states, including Al-Jazirah and others.” Local authorities and communities are doing maintenance work on Wad Medani Road and humanitarian organizations are on the ground to assess the situation.

 In the meantime, a rapid assessment team carried out a needs assessment in the schools and Elnasheen Stadium where people are currently sheltering. They identified shelter, non-food items, food, and WASH as their priority needs. Non-food items are items essential household items such as blankets, water containers, cooking items, and soap.

 The Humanitarian Coordinator for OCHA, Sudan office Eddie Rowe, is “calling upon our generous donors to expedite HRP (Humanitarian Response Plan) 2022 funding as the needs are growing and we still have time to respond.”

 As of August 31, donors provided about $612.8 million for the 2022 Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan, which is about 32% of the required amount.

 Click here to donate to the UN Crisis Relief - Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan.

Click here to donate to the UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency.

 Flooding occurs every rainy season in Sudan, starting in May for the southern states of Sudan, reaching Khartoum around June-July, and lasting until October. The past few years have seen peak rainfall and flooding during August and September.

 The years 2017-2021 saw an annual average of 388,600 people affected.

 This year’s flooding has been particularly disastrous thus far and could affect close to half a million people according to estimates made in the 2022 Sudan Emergency Response Plan (ERP). OCHA has even higher projections, stating that as of August 14 the number of people and localities affected by rains and floods has doubled in comparison to last year in the same period.

 As of August 31, there are nearly 258,400 affected people, more than 90 reported deaths, and more than 50,000 homes completely or partially collapsed. There are much higher estimates however of at least 800,000 people affected and over 100 people killed.

 Click here for live figures and maps of people and areas affected.

 The Government of Sudan leads and coordinates the emergency response to floods, and the body responsible is the National Flood Mission Forces of the Humanitarian Aid Committee (HAC).

 Health sector partners have begun providing medicines and medical supplies in anticipation of a surge in diseases that come with the onset of the rainy season and floods. Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector partners have also provided aid through rehabilitating water pumps & water yards and providing water treatment chemicals and WASH non-food items. More than 19,000 affected people have received chlorine for water treatment as well as sanitation and hygiene supplies.

 The full release can be found here.

 There remains a great concern for refugee camps and areas that, because of flooding, have become inaccessible to humanitarian aid organizations.

 Last Friday, the Sudan High Emergency Committee declared South Darfur a “disaster area.” Last Thursday, Yagoub Furi, General Coordinator of the Darfur Displaced People and Refugees reported that 7,000 homes, health centers, and schools were entirely or partially destroyed. He also expressed concerns about the health effects of stagnant water pools in Kalma camp near Nyala, where more than 100,000 people live. Furi has expressed concern that government intervention is limited to towns and villages, neglecting camps for the displaced “which are the most fragile areas and need urgent intervention.”

 Aid has been pledged from the Sudanese government as well as from Gulf allies. The Council of Ministers has also developed a plan to mobilize international and regional support, and in a meeting last Wednesday discussed the practical steps of this plan. Abroad, support has come from Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed who has pledged that the United Arab Emirates will send urgent assistance and Qatar which has already sent two airplanes carrying relief materials. These relief materials are to be distributed in Al-Jazirah and River Nile states by technical field teams of the Qatar Charity Foundation.

 The Medical Students Association is also collecting funds to send an aid convoy accompanied by medics to Al-Jazirah.

 

For more information:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) 2022 Sudan Floods

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Disaster Report

UN OCHA: Sudan floods: No sign of relief from torrential rains as 23 more people are killed

Torrential rain, floods in Sudan kill 77 and destroy 14,500 homes - Aljazeera

Heavy floods displace over 2,500 in Sudan's Al Jazirah State - Sudan Tribune

The Sudanese National Academy of Sciences (SNAS) is dedicated to promote Science excellence in Sudan for the benefit of Sudanese society. One of the specific strategic objectives of SNAS is to improve quality education and increase public awareness on the positive impact of Science on development. From the 21st of March to the 23rd of March, SNAS, in collaboration with the Regional Office of UNESCO in Cairo, organized a workshop for training of science school teachers from the different States of Sudan on Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE).The National Commission for Education, Science and Culture and the STEM-Sudan Initiative were actively involved in organizing the workshop. Thirty one Science school teachers and 15 STEM volunteer trainers attended the workshop. Trainees were issued certificates of attendance signed by the General Director of UNESCO - Cairo Regional Office.

The IBSE is an innovative teaching pedagogy that calls for the active participation of pupils in the learning process through maximizing children's natural curiosity, identification of problems, possible explanations or solutions, hypothesis to be tested, design of protocols to be tested involving several choices, the actual investigation, confirmation of the assumption, structure of knowledge in response to the questions raised and comparison with established facts.

A major outcome of this project is dissemination of IBSE pedagogical approach in institutions of teachers training.

Sustainability for Africa: The role of forefront scientific and technological innovation  in achieving sustainable development on the African continent
Date: March 16 – 18, 2022

 Congratulations to Professor Mohamed H.A. Hassan, President of the World Academy of Sciences and the Sudanese National Academy of Sciences (SNAS), for his recent naming as the inaugural honoree of the MIT Africa Distinguished Visitors Program. This program is part of a larger effort by MIT to increase its engagement with Africa, and promote the advancement of science, technology, and innovation across the continent.     

Prof. Elfatih Eltahir, co-chair of the MIT Africa Faculty Steering Committee, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT School of Engineering, is a member of SNAS, a Sudanese national in diaspora.

Profess Hassan in his lecture discussed the sustainability challenges Africa faces as it works toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations, and ways that MIT and its partners can play a positive role in this process.

SNAS is proud of the acknowledgment of President Hassan’s contributions to the fields of science and global development and is excited about the opportunities and progress made possible by this new partnership.

Read more here: https://news.mit.edu/2022/global-mit-launches-africa-distinguished-visitors-program-0419

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