Civil Defense Director in Sudan to “AlTaghyeer”: Doing everything we can to overcome the flood with minimal casualties

The General Administration of Civil Defense in Sudan has complained of encroachments on the Nile in the floodplain area, which exacerbates the flood crisis on an annual basis.

AlTaghyeer: Interview : Ala’a Musa

The Director of the General Administration of Civil Defense in Sudan, Major General Ahmed Omar Saeed, revealed that the encroachments built on the Nile’s creeks extend for a kilometre around its main course.

In an interview with AlTaghyeer, he said that “the Nile breathes itself into these creeks, but these creeks have been built on, so it is natural for the Nile to flow into houses.”

He acknowledged the difficulty of predicting the areas of vulnerability each year, as new areas keep emerging each season.

He spoke about the preparations, treatments, and interventions for the current fall season, and more in these statements made to AlTaghyeer.

*What are your preparations for this year’s fall season in light of the recent fears of a more dangerous flood than last year’s?

From early on, preparations for the fall of 2021 began, with an integrated plan with our brothers over at the Ministry of Irrigation.

We were given all the information, and on it we based a plan to avoid all problems we faced before, so we assure everyone that the situation is under control, and [the situation] has not reached last year’s flooding stage so far.

*So, do you expect the Nile to reach the flood stage in the coming days?

It is expected in the coming days that the Nile will reach more than 17 meters [in height]. Yesterday it surpassed 16 meters. We also expect al-Miri (government owned property) to reach critical flood stages reminiscent of last year’s.

*What are some registered vulnerable areas?

Every year, new vulnerable areas appear, making it difficult to enumerate them. In the year before last, the state of Khartoum recorded a fewer [number of] areas of fragility, but in the flood of last year, many [new] sites appeared, and this year we expect that the areas of fragility to shrink due to the great efforts made by the state governors, and state emergency rooms in areas where flooding occurs frequently.

*Is there a statistic for the size of the flood losses?

Last year, the al-Faw region was not among the areas classified as a vulnerable area, and this year, simple errors in canal maintenance led to the region being affected by torrential rains from the first instance of rain, and we focus on the Nile states.

*On mentioning the Nile states, the mayor in Sennar mentioned in the past few days that he sent a distress signal to the center [Khartoum], but is yet to recieve any response.

Personally, I did not see the distress [signal] that the mayor of Sennar made, but follow-up continuously with the rainy season emergency room in Sennar, and this state has a special situation because it is considered a “confrontation state” that is affected by floods every year, so we give it priority, and all its capabilities [currently] are directed to address the [collapsed] bridge.

Despite all, the threat still remains.

*Some say the responsibility for the recurrence of floods annually in some states is due to shortcomings on part of the concerned authorities?

The concerned authorities play their full role according to their available capabilities.

The recurrence of floods in each season is due to torrential rains; natural conditions that have no constant, and you cannot predict [whether] the flood this year will be more than (6) meters [high] or less, because natural circumstances are subject to climatic variables, in addition to the encroachments on the Nile’s floodplains, a majority of which are inhabited, therefore, water cannot be trapped in its place.

* Why was the water not stored for use instead of flooding the houses?

As I mentioned to you earlier, it is difficult to imprison the abundant flowing water, because the venting of rivers and creeks brings rain water to the Nile, and once the Nile is full, it flows over into those creeks. Therefore, the planning pattern must change and housing should move away from the Nile, because water cannot be trapped.

Director of the General Administration of Civil Defense in Sudan, Major General Ahmed Omar Saeed/Still taken from Sudan News Agency (SUNA)

* But some talk about the effects that occur in some areas, especially the areas of vulnerability?

Yes, there is an impact on the vulnerable areas in some housing areas located near the White Nile, especially the al-Kalaklat and Jabal Awliya areas, and these areas are located in the area of ​​the Nile vent.

*But a decision was issued by the governor of Khartoum to deport citizens from those areas for fear of repeating the same [last year] scenario?

Yes, a decision was issued to do so, but the decision was not implemented thoroughly, leading annually to residents of those areas being affected.

*How is this handled then?

The final treatment is carried out in the event of the permanent evacuation of the citizens, and there is a part that left the area and another that still exists, in addition to the clear threat from the western side of the Nile in the areas surrounding Salha, because the buildings lie inside the flooded areas of the Nile, and they are annually affected [by floods].

*Are the capabilities provided to you sufficient to control the flood if it occurs in any of the regions of Sudan?

If I [could have] mentioned to you that what’s necessary in capabilities is available, I would have, [but] we are dealing with the state’s capabilities and everyone knows of the state’s capabilities presently, but we will harness everything we have and offer all our technical capabilities to deal with reality so that we pass with the least amount of losses.

*On mentioning losses, some talk about the existence of losses in some areas due to torrential rain, what is the truth of that?

The losses are very minor and not a cause of concern; only the collapse of some houses with weak residential structures, not exceeding (110) houses that have completely collapsed and (250) which have partially collapsed, and most of them are caused by torrential rains and floods in some areas.

*What areas do you expect to be most affected this fall?

It is difficult to predict that any the areas will be more affected [than others], because last year we expected the areas bordering the Blue Nile to be more affected, but we were surprised to find out that the city of al-Khoei in West Kordofan [situated by the White Nile] was the most affected, therefore, we cannot predict where the damage comes from, from torrential rains and floods, or from rain.

We believe that the areas near the Nile are the most affected.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button