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close this bookCities At Risk - Making Cities Safer ... Before Disaster Strikes (IDNDR-DIRDN, 1996)
close this folderPart Two: What Is Being Done?
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View the documentSudan: Flood Committees Help Local Areas Take Protective Measures

Sudan: Flood Committees Help Local Areas Take Protective Measures

The Sudanese government's decision to form a national network of flood committees is making a difference in how local authorities reduce vulnerability to floods.

Khartoum, Sudan's capital, is famously situated around a juncture of the White Nile and the Blue Nile rivers. The city has swelled in recent years to 4.2 million people; 1.6 million have migrated to the city due to civil conflict and famine. In 1988, floods from seasonal rains covered nearly 40% of Khartoum. The city's residents had no warning about the impending flood, which was the worst one to hit the area since 1946. Millions of dollars worth of property was destroyed, and 28% of the people were affected.

The floods were used as a case study at a national workshop of the UN Disaster Management Training Programme, attended by government officials, NGOs and UN agencies in 1993. Following a recommendation of the workshop, the Sudanese government subsequently decided to form a National Flood Committee and sub-committees in flood-prone communities throughout Sudan.

A local community sub-committee immediately started work on flood embankments, with help from the national government, NGOs and community residents. In 1994, Sudan experienced floods similar to those in 1988. The new flood embankments, early warning measures and greater community awareness made a difference: in 1994, there was very little damage to areas previously affected.


Children in Khartoum, Sudan.
(C.Guarita/Still Pictures)

Summarized from the paper provided by Yousef Bakheit Idris, Co-ordinator, UNDMTP Africa. For more information contact: Yousef Bakheit Idris, UNDMTP for Africa, P.O. Box 60110, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Tel: (251 1) 510 152, Fax: (251 1) 511 021