From: Mohamed Osman, Associated Press
Published August 16, 2005 12:00 AM

Thousands Without Shelter after Heavy Rains Flood Sudan's North Darfur State

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Heavy rains have damaged a dam and caused flooding that has left thousands of people without shelter in the capital of North Darfur state and a nearby camp for displaced people, government officials said Monday.

The rainfall from Friday morning to Saturday collapsed part of the Haloof Dam, some 13 kilometers (eight miles) northeast of El-Fasher, and sent meter-high waters sweeping through the area.

An official at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said some 2,284 families lost their makeshift shelters in Abu Shouk camp, according to a preliminary report. In El-Fasher, seven neighborhoods were leveled and some 547 families left homeless, 12 schools were destroyed and the central market was heavily damaged, the official said.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has yet to be released.

No casualties were reported.


"The situation has now been brought under control and the government has exercised tremendous efforts, distributing canvas and blankets and sorghum to the affected families," Gov. Osman Mohamed Yusuf Kibir said. He said over 2,200 sacks of sorghum had been handed out.

The Humanitarian Affairs report said the main concern now is to contain any sanitary or health problems, fearing a possible outbreak of disease because of pools of standing water and sewage mixing with rainwater.

It said a Sudanese NGO is handling this.

The ministry official said international organizations met Sunday in El-Fasher and will assess how best to assist the situation.

Local authorities have complained of a lack of heavy machinery to remove debris and erect barriers near the dam to prevent another wave of flooding.

About 2 million people live in displaced persons camps throughout Darfur after fleeing fighting between rebels and the government.

Source: Associated Press

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