Torrential rains in the past couple of days have damaged more than 500 homes across Sudan’s north and areas north of Omdurman city, state media reported on Monday, validating concerns voiced by aid groups that the wet season would compound the war-torn country’s woes.
Changing weather patterns saw Sudan’s Northern State battered by heavy rain, damaging at least 464 houses, the state-run SUNA news agency said, adding that at least 300 houses were damaged in Merowe city alone, about 330 kilometres (210 miles) from the capital, Khartoum.
Al-Sagai, about 40km north of Omdurman, was inundated with water and dozens of houses collapsed and agricultural plantings were submerged in the wake of the rains.
SUNA described the vast region bordering Egypt and Libya as “a desert area that rarely received rain in the past, but has been witnessing devastating rains for the past five years”.
The tragedy comes nearly four months into a brutal war between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces that has decimated infrastructure and plunged millions into hunger.
Medics and aid groups have for months warned that Sudan’s rainy season, which began in June, could spell disaster for millions more, increasing the risk of malnutrition, vector-borne diseases and displacement across the country.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), outbreaks of cholera and measles have already been reported in parts of the country that have been nearly impossible for relief missions to access.
More than 80 percent of Sudan’s hospitals are no longer in service, the WHO said, while the few health facilities that remain often come under fire and struggle to provide care.
The conflict, which erupted in the capital, Khartoum, on April 15, has displaced more than three million people internally with many in urgent need of aid, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Nearly a million others have fled across borders seeking safety, it said.
Aid groups repeatedly complain of security challenges, bureaucratic hurdles and targeted attacks that prevent them from delivering much-needed assistance.