NAIROBI, 21st August 2012: Urgent support is needed to protect and feed thousands of children and assist them return to school in the flood-induced humanitarian crisis in Sudan, an international children’s charity has said.
Plan International said thousands of villages in Kassala and White Nile states had been destroyed by exceptionally heavy rains and flash floods in Sudan - rendering more than 500, 000 people homeless and unable to access food, water, electricity and health services
Plan’s Acting Director in Sudan, Naila Abshora said her organisation was appealing for funds to help thousands of people, mostly children, affected by flash floods in the two states located in central and eastern parts of the country respectively.
“Children and women are the most vulnerable community in such segments. Children’s education was interrupted and their health is very fragile to stand harsh climatic or environmental hazards,” Ms Abushora said.
“Their safety is also in a dire situation since the number of snake and scorpion pits have increased. In addition, many schools have closed due to damaged facilities or flooded roads, meaning that a large number of young people are not able to continue their education,” she added.
Mid-July is annual start of the rainy season across Sudan, which usually continues till the end of October. The earlier weather forecasts have predicted above average rains this season all over the country. Last week of July and early weeks in August witnessed heavy and exceptional rains in many parts of the country as well as the numerous flash floods.
Many areas of the country were affected either by the rains or the flash floods including Plan operational areas. Many communities in many localities in White Nile and Kassala states were also among the most affected areas due to early August rains.
“More than 50,000 individuals in Plan operational areas in these two states were directly or indirectly affected by the rains and floods. 9 plan communities in River Atbara locality, Kassala state, were completely inundated with floods water and left more than 3,000 families homeless,” Ms Abushora said.
She noted that a similar situation took place in 16 Plan affiliated communities in White Nile state. About 1,640 sponsored children are affected so far. The affected families are sitting in open areas and the rest are either staying in schools or sharing their relatives’ houses.
The director of the meteorological department has noted that mid-August might witness rains that were not seen during the last thirty years, which may worsen the current situation.
“Affected families completely or partially lost their houses and properties. Public services were severely interrupted such as drinking water supply, power, health services and education services. Moreover, the life disruption also included the loss of the public buildings such as schools and health units and the services that used to provide including markets and supplies,” she said.
Abushora noted that environmental sanitation has deteriorated rapidly in the affected communities and adverse results started to be observed include significant breeding of the mosquitoes and water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory infections and gastro-intestinal disorders. So far 82 cases of diarrhea among the children have been reported in River Atbara, Kassala state.
Access to most of the affected communities also poses serious challenges, making it difficult to obtain information on the status of the affected communities and those affected communities had been updating relief organisations with the latest information through mobile phones.
Plan has been actively involved in the local coordination platform led by Government to respond to this emergency.
Already a process has started to respond to the situation which include: In Kassala State a provision of safe drinking water for around 865 affected families in collaboration with the government and UNICEF; Rental of 7 boats in 7 affected villages to transport the urgent referred cases (mainly sick children and pregnant women); Provided sanitary materials (soaps and Jerry cans to 865 families) to prevent spread of diarrhea cases among the children; Provision of 1600 plastic sheets to the homeless families; Participated in distributing Non food items availed by local government to 3150 affected families; Transport of the medicines and chlorine tablets availed by UNICEF and WHO.
Plan has distributed food items for saving children lives to the affected families in Elragiag – Rabak locality and to Bobnis community-Tandality locality in While in the White Nile State
Also, in collaboration with the Water and Environmental Sanitation department, Plan installed 2 Bladders (5000 Litres for each Bladder) for safe drinking water in Elragiag in White Nile state.
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