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Cablegate: Sudan - Usaid Flood Assessment Renk County, Upper Nile

VZCZCXRO6711
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1446/01 2561505
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131505Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8504
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001446

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, DCHA/OFDA, AND AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, USAID/SFO AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND TSHORTLEY
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN - USAID FLOOD ASSESSMENT RENK COUNTY, UPPER NILE
STATE


KHARTOUM 00001446 001.2 OF 002


1. Summary. From August 28 to 30, USAID/OFDA staff visited Renk
County in northern Upper Nile State, Southern Sudan, to assess the
effects of recent flooding. Flooding caused severe damage to homes
and livestock and affected an estimated 10,000 households, or
approximately 50,000 people. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
and UN agencies have played a key role in stabilizing the situation
by providing emergency food and relief commodities, in addition to
establishing three temporary internally displaced person (IDP) camps
to accommodate more than 900 displaced families. However, with the
continuation of the rainy season through mid-October, the potential
for additional flooding remains. End summary.

----------------
FLOOD ASSESSMENT
----------------

2. In mid-July, flooding along the Asheer River resulted in severe
damage to houses, crops, and livestock in Renk, Jelhak, Shimodi, and
Gaiger payams of Renk County in northern Upper Nile State.
According to county officials and the Sudan Relief and
Rehabilitation Commission (SRRC), flooding has affected 10,000
households, or approximately 50,000 people, including 2,000
households, or approximately 10,000 people, in Renk town. In
Shimodi payam, 72 houses and 11 shops were destroyed. In Jelhak
payam, flooding affected 1,500 people, collapsed 700 houses, and
resulted in the loss of 500 livestock. In Gaiger payam, officials
report that 1,675 households, or approximately 8,375 people, were
affected and 183 livestock lost. In Jalhak and Gaiger payams, local
officials expressed concern over significant damage to the
agricultural sector, including the loss of recently planted sorghum
fields. In other areas, high water levels have temporarily made
agricultural land inaccessible to farmers and flooded crops, raising
food security concerns.

3. Immediately following the flooding, a joint assessment team
comprised of members of the European Union-funded NGO consortium
based in Renk, the county environmental health department, and the
executive administrator's office conducted a rapid assessment. This
was followed by an interagency assessment, including the UN World
Food Program (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Office of
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Resident
Coordinator's Office (RCO), World Vision, and SRRC. Assessments
noted significant flooding in Renk town, particularly in blocks 10
and 12, and a significant deterioration in the quality of drinking
water as a result of disruptions to the fuel supply.

4. In all flood-affected areas, officials are concerned that health
and nutrition conditions will further deteriorate as a result of
stagnant and standing water and the accompanying increased risk of
waterborne diseases. In some health centers in Jelhak town, there
is a serious shortage of medicine to treat the prevalence of
malaria, skin diseases, and respiratory infections due to the
absence of a functioning system to replenish drug supplies from Juba
or Khartoum. The shortage has prompted a dramatic increase in
prices.

---------------------
HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
---------------------

5. NGOs and UN agencies have played a key role in stabilizing the
situation by providing emergency food and relief commodities, in
addition to establishing three temporary IDP camps. As the lead
agency of the Renk County NGO consortium, Mercy Corps has been
instrumental in supporting local government and UN flood response,
particularly in the absence of a permanent UN presence in the
county.

6. NGOs and UN agencies have established three temporary IDP camps
to accommodate more than 900 displaced families. Other displaced
households are sheltering with relatives and friends. Humanitarian
agencies are providing health, emergency relief commodity, shelter,
and water, sanitation, and hygiene services t camp populations.
UNICEF has provided two water purification units installed by
Medair, 270 kilograms of chlorine to treat water sources, and 1,500
emergency relief commodity kits, including plastic sheeting. In
collaboration with Mercy Corps and a local community-based
organization, Mubadiroon, UNICEF has also established two medical
units. Mercy Corps and Medair have jointly constructed 72 pit
latrines and initiated a health education and environmental
sanitation awareness campaign. In addition, UNHCR, World Vision,

KHARTOUM 00001446 002.2 OF 002


and Medair have provided relief commodities, including plastic
sheeting and mosquito nets.

7. In Renk town, Mercy Corps and the local government have prepared
4,100 meters of trenches to drain accumulated water, helping to
minimize damage. The local government provided engineering
services, supplemented by a cash-for-work program implemented by
Mercy Corps and funded through Christian Aid.

8. Throughout flood-affected areas of Renk County, government and
humanitarian agencies are providing assistance. The Government of
Southern Sudan (GOSS) has provided USD 25,000 to assist in the local
transport and distribution of relief supplies and 340 tents. Local
authorities have also provided 100 tents, 100 plastic sheets, fifty
90 kilogram bags of sorghum, and USD 7,500 for transportation costs.
WFP has provided a 15-day food ration for 1,411 households, and has
agreed to provide an additional three-month food-for-recovery ration
through Mercy Corps. Local NGOs funded through Khartoum-based
assistance campaigns have also provided assistance, although details
are not available.

---------------
LOOKING FORWARD
---------------

9. USAID staff report that despite current response efforts, gaps
remain. Priorities identified by local communities and county
officials include medicine, shelter materials, mosquito nets,
blankets, stagnant water treatment, and land allocation for the
resettlement of affected households. Government and humanitarian
agencies are engaging in dialogue with flood-affected communities on
future settlement plans. There is a strong consensus that the
allocation of new land is required for the resettlement of displaced
populations. However, building the necessary infrastructure and
essential services represents a significant challenge and a
potential obstacle to local authorities' plans to dismantle
temporary IDP camps by mid-October. Local government has also
expressed an interest in establishing food-for-work programs to
assist flood-affected households to rebuild livelihoods.

FERNANDEZ

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