Sudan Floods Intensify due to Climate Change

“On the island, we are used to putting barricades against the Niles during the flooding season but it never felt life-threatening. This year, by the start of august, we started monitoring the Nile levels on the eastern and western sides. We thought it would be just like every year and we didn’t worry much about it,” said Khedir.

Floods are not a new thing to Sudan, it happens almost every year. But due to climate change, these floods are getting more intense and the local capacity to respond remains the same if not less. 

Sudanese people spent the last two years fighting a corrupt government. After a revolution that took down a 30-year-long dictatorship system, we finally got a civilian government and started a 3-years long transitional period in September 2020

What was supposed to follow was the year of recovery for my exhausted nation, but the pandemic has brought a new range of challenges with it. The country has over 13 thousands cases and 800 deaths. The lockdown has exacerbated the economical situation and cut off the income of hundreds of families. 

This year’s floods started by July, the continous rising floodwaters and heavy rainfall killed around 100 people and inundated over 100 thousand houses which eventually forced the Sudanese authorities to impose a three-month state of emergency across the country

“Climate change is worsening climate disasters like floods because of the increase in extreme weather events. The science has warned us that such scenarios [the floods] will soon become our new reality,” said Nagmeldin Goutbi from the Higher Council for Environm. & Natural Resources Sudan

The flooding, caused by seasonal heavy rainfall in neighboring areas, has led the Nile river levels to reach 17.5 meters – the highest level in 100 years. On September 6th, the Blue Nile was measured at 17.62 meters, this is half a meter higher than the 1948 record which was considered shocking at the time.

“We never expected this,” said Khedir Hassan, a 22-year-old who resides in Tuti Island, where the Blue and White Nile rivers meet. Tuti is one of the most intensely flooded areas. 

“I feel like something bad is about to happen at any minute and I get scared when I see any clouds,” said Zainab Mohammed, a resident at Al-Maseed, a village located along the Blue Nile in the east-central region of Sudan.

A TIMELINE FOR THE FLOODINGS IN TUTI ISLAND AND AL-MASEED
Lina Yassin
Middle East and North Africa Program Manager. In 2016 became the youngest Sudanese climate journalist to publish in a national newspaper. Working from Sudan, at least when they don't have blackouts.