Home | News    Friday 17 August 2007

UN releases US$5 mln to help victims of flooding in Sudan

August 16, 2007 (UNITED NATIONS) — The United Nations released nearly US$5 million (A3.7 million) from a humanitarian fund to assist victims of massive flooding in Sudan, where thousands are in urgent need of food, shelter and medicine.

A Sudanese mother carries her child as she struggles through the flood waters east of Kartoum. (AFP)

Torrential rains have caused flash floods in the east, south and center of the country since mid-June, causing more than 100 deaths and leaving thousands homeless.

"It’s very serious, and it’s not enough money by any means," U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Margareta Wahlstrom, the deputy emergency relief coordinator, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "These are really bad floods."

She said it was "unfortunate" that the world is focusing on the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force for Sudan’s Darfur region that was recently authorized by the Security Council, not the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the floods.

The US$4.76 million (A3.53 million) from the Common Humanitarian Fund has been allocated to U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the country for food, health care, emergency shelter, and water and sanitation projects, the U.N. mission in Sudan said in a statement Wednesday.

So far, 17 treatment centers have been set up in affected areas to provide water chlorination and health education, the mission said.

The World Food Program is currently providing food for 38,500 people in North Sudan and 8,849 in Southern Sudan, the mission said, but estimates suggest those numbers could rise rapidly as the rains are expected to continue until at least mid-September.

WFP has also launched a food-for-recovery project, providing food in exchange for digging ditches in one of southern Sudan’s most affected areas, Renk county.

The Common Humanitarian Fund was launched in 2006 to help coordinate donor contributions to U.N. agencies and NGOs in Sudan. More than half of this year’s US$140 million (A104 million) in donations were pledged by Britain, with other contributions from Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Ireland, according to the fund Web site.