Khartoum’s roadside refugees call for help after floods

August 15, 2013 7:42 am
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Adam said he would carry it back through the mud to the remains of his home, where his family still stayed.

“They cannot come out because of the mud and water,” Adam explained.

On the other side of the street, Ali Ahmed Idris extends a mud caked hand in greeting.

“Be careful,” he says, dressed in a traditional white jalabiya robe and pointing to a pile of sticks lying flat in the mud. “That was the toilet.”

He, too, is living beside the road but has returned to the rubble of his nearby home to see what could be salvaged.

It seems that only a door, decorated in yellow and blue, is still standing.

“I lost my goats,” says Idris, a labourer, as another man digs into the earth with a shovel.

One newly homeless man said the floods were a test “from God”.

But help has started to arrive for those affected.

The displaced said the Sudanese Red Crescent Society and other non-governmental groups have given them plastic sheeting and deliver some food each day.

Two white Red Crescent tents were seen farther along the road, near a traffic jam caused by crews digging and repairing electricity pylons.

A van arrived with bread, and a few army officers also visited the displaced. Two boats sat in the mud while, farther away, the opposition Umma party readied a pair of aid trucks.

In another part of Khartoum relatively untouched by flooding, volunteers crowded the offices of Nafeer, a youth group which came together to assist people in Sharq ElNeel and other badly affected communities.

“Of course, we cannot meet all the needs of Khartoum state but we are filling some gaps,” says Muaz Ibrahim, a doctor and one of about 2,000 volunteers with Nafeer.

He said local and expatriate Sudanese have donated food, clothing, mosquito nets and cash for the flood victims.

Nafeer’s storeroom is filled with drinking water and coloured plastic food bags, each with packages of flour, noodles, biscuits and sugar enough to feed 10 people for one day, Nafeer says.

But with fears of more rain, the roadside refugees say they have not yet received enough help to deal with the losses they have already suffered.

“If it rains we don’t know what we will do,” said Aljna Ahmad Osman.

“We need urgent help, from the government or from anyone,” says another woman, Aisha Mohammed Al-Tayeb.

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