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Sudanese lawmaker accuses government of negligence in wake of deadly floods

August 5, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The head of the parliamentary subcommittee on Legislation and Justice has accused the executive branch of negligence regarding what he said was its poor response to floods and heavy rains which swept the country in the past few days.

Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir (Bottom Right), Khartoum state governor Abdel-Rahman al-Khidir (Top Right), Presidential Affairs minister Bakri Hassan Saleh (Top Left) and other officials look out an aircraft window as they fly over an area affected by floods caused by heavy rains in Khartoum August 5, 2013 (REUTERS/Stringer)

MP Al-Fadil Hag Suleiman also expressed regret over the human and material losses caused by the floods and blamed the governments of Khartoum state and other affected states for not doing enough to prevent the damages, holding them responsible for lives and property lost.

He accused the states’ governments of exploiting people’s money by handing them houses which are located in the floodplains.

The Sudanese General Authority for Meteorology (GAM) had previously predicted heavy rainfall this weekend and called upon the government to take the necessary precautions.

The floods and rains that hit different areas in Sudan over the past two days have lead to the death of at least 38 people and injured dozens.

The Sudanese president, Omer Hassan al-Bashir , along with the governor of Khartoum, Abd Al-Rahman al-Khidir, have went on a three-hour helicopter inspection tour over the affected areas in Khartoum state.

Al-Khidir said in press statements following the tour that Bashir asked the pilot to land in Al-Kiriab and Marabei Al-sherif areas but the pilot declined saying that floods have caused severe damages in Soba east, Al-Shaikh al-Amin, Ram Allah, and Id Babiker areas before it receded.

He also said that al-Silait canal have caused damages to al-Barakat, al-Huda, al-Nasr, and parts of al-Giraif east neighborhoods.

The governor further added that Bashir has issued a directive for aiding affected areas and disposing of water as well as seeking a lasting solution for the problem through a strategic plan which identifies the sources and tracks of the floods.

He stressed that teams from the survey department have already embarked on implementing the presidential directive, declaring that the state’s budget will be used as an emergency budget in order to spend on relief for the affected areas.

Al-Khidir pointed that the government of Khartoum state has offered large quantities of tents which will be distributed for the affected people, calling upon civil society organizations and philanthropists to provide support for them.

According to the latest statistics issued by the government of Khartoum state, the number of houses affected by the flood reached 11,142 including 7,259 houses which were completely destroyed and 3,383 which were partially affected in the localities of the Nile River, Karari, Um Bada, Khartoum North, and Omdurman.

The minister of guidance and social development in Khartoum state, Amal al-Bakry al- Beeli, said that Khartoum state government has made instant efforts to dispose of the accumulated water, stressing that waters in the localities of east Nile, Um Bada, and Karari have receded.

The commissioner general for humanitarian aid, Suleiman Abd Al- Rahman , said that said that the average rain rate did not exceed 16 meters and the Nile river hasn’t flooded, appealing to voluntary organizations to provide support.

A group of activists including students, college graduates, and political parties’ youths have launched a campaign called “Nafeer” (group of people joined together for a common purpose) on Facebook to provide aid for the affected. They set up headquarters for fundraising and aids to reach all affected areas in Khartoum state.

The campaign coordinator, Shaima Tag Al-Sir, said that they intend to go to all affected areas to cover the void of civil society organizations.

Facebook bloggers have drawn scathing criticism for the governor of Khartoum state and the ministry of infrastructure describing infrastructure of Sudan’s capital Khartoum as “fragile”, accusing the state’s government of spending billions of Sudanese pounds on failed sewage projects.

They went on to accuse Khartoum state government of hiring companies affiliated to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) to build the roads and other infrastructure projects.

But two ministers in Khartoum government cabinet have insulted the bloggers on Facebook, calling them “seculars” who do not believe in the “act of God”.