GENEVA – The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warns Sudan’s fragile political stability could be at risk if the desperate needs of hundreds of thousands of flood victims are not urgently addressed.
Severe floods have affected nearly 900,000 Sudanese, reportedly killing more than 120, rendering thousands of families homeless, and destroying farmlands and livelihoods.
Secretary-General Jagan Chapagain has just returned from a four-day assessment mission to Sudan. He said the impact of the worst floods in three decades is far beyond anything he had expected.
“I visited an area called Algamayer on the outskirts of Khartoum. Homes, infrastructure and crops have been destroyed,” Chapagain said. “The conditions are simply appalling. It is boiling hot — more than 40 degrees, and there is no shade. The camp we visited is surrounded by stagnant water, and mosquitoes are rife.”
Chapagain said the only access to clean water or sanitary toilets is at the neighboring school, which is closed at night. He said people also lack sufficient shelter, toilets and mosquito nets, which means malaria is rampant and the risk of cholera and other diseases is high.
He said children comprise about half of the flood victims and are particularly vulnerable. This humanitarian crisis, he said, also is taking a heavy toll on pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and disabled.
He told VOA he is very concerned by the level of anger and frustration he encountered and its potential impact on the country’s stability.
“There was a locust infestation in the beginning of the year,” Chapagain said. “There has been, of course, impact of the COVID. And, of course, with the political change, the expectations of the population on the government are very, very high — actually extremely high … I do believe that the pressure on the government could be very significantly increasing in coming months if these desperate needs are not addressed.”
Sudan’s transitional government, which took office last year after long-time leader Omar al-Bashir was ousted, is struggling to build a stable political system and end political violence in the impoverished country.
The International Red Cross has received just 15% of the $13 million appeal it launched in September to provide health care, shelter, water and sanitation and other essential relief for 200,000 Sudanese flood victims.
Secretary-General Chapagain says it is urgent to act now. He warns the failure of the international community to support this life-saving operation will have fearful consequences for many thousands of people.
Source: Voice of America