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The Water that Washes, The Rain that Floods

Pray for Sudan

By Jad Tabet
September 8, 2020

Outside of the rainy season, Sudan does not get much rain and so the people rely heavily on the waters of the Nile for irrigation and farming. The main southern tributaries of the Nile River – The White Nile and the Blue Nile – wind their way through Sudan and meet in Khartoum, the country’s capital. Many areas have set up dams along the White Nile and the Blue Nile for local use. Flooding during the rainy season (between July and September) is a normal occurrence in Sudan. This year, however, torrential rains have led to both the White Nile and the Blue Nile overflowing, which has devastated areas all the way along the riverbanks up to the meeting point in Khartoum. The flooding has been so severe that it has impacted houses at a 17-meter (55-foot) elevation from the riverbanks. Reports from the Sudanese government have shown that the flooding has led to the death of around 100 people and the damaging of more than 100,000 homes, leaving more than half a million people displaced. On Monday, September 7, 2020, the Sudanese government declared a 3-month state of emergency1.

Speaking about the flooding, our student Eilia said: “The last time we saw floods this severe was in the 1980s when torrential rains caused the flooding of the Nile proper in Atbara and Khartoum. Back then, the airport was indefinitely shut down and there were risks of disease spreading amongst the people. This year, the floods have affected people in unprecedented ways. People have lost their homes, their possessions, and some have even lost their lives. Our disaster response has not been able to deal with the flooding and a lot of it has been left up to the people. In some areas, they’re putting planks together trying to keep the water out. In others, they’ve tried to open waterways and ponds that can help reduce the flooding. The flooding is especially dangerous the closer we get to the fall because that is when insects begin to proliferate, which contributes to the spread of diseases like dysentery and malaria. The spread of disease is an even greater risk now with the pandemic as there is no way to guarantee that the disaster responders can maintain preventative measures. It has been difficult to contend with what’s happening. Sudanese churches have been trying to help but they can’t keep up with all that is happening.

“I feel that it is necessary for us to do something for the people who have lost so much to the floods. You hear a lot of people saying, ‘I’ve lost everything’, so I feel that we need to be caring for the families and reaching out to the affected. The floods have exacerbated the situation for everyone and have had economic, health, and psychological consequences.

“I ask you to pray for us. Pray for our people and our churches. The damage we have seen is so monumental that the people do not know what to do. Pray that we as a church are able to take a Kingdom stance towards this disaster and reach out to the people who are in need. A lot of the people living in the areas that were affected by the floods are non-Christians or non-believers, so this is an opportunity for the church to react transformatively and be the light for those in need.”
1 Al Jazeera. “Sudan Declares 3-Month State of Emergency over Deadly Floods.”, 7 Sept. 2020. Accessed 8 Sept. 2020.
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