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Cablegate: Disaster Declaration - Khartoum Floods

VZCZCXRO2428
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1073 2661355
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231355Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4444
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001073

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
UN ROME FOR HSPANOS
NEW YORK FOR DMERCADO

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: Disaster Declaration - Khartoum Floods

1. (U) This is an action message. Please see Paragraph 6.

2. (U) Summary: In late August, heavy rains in Khartoum State
caused massive flooding in Soba Aradi, Mayo, Jebel Aulia, and other
settlements largely occupied by South Sudanese and Darfuri
war-displaced populations. Houses and latrines overflowed and
collapsed. Sudanese officials, U.N. agencies, and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) responded to immediate response needs, but have
requested international assistance. The latter is needed to prevent
a public health emergency due to the appalling sanitation situation
that resulted from the flooding. The Government of Sudan (GOS) lacks
the capacity to respond to the crisis and has requested
international assistance. It is in the foreign policy interest of
the USG to assist Sudan. Charge d'Affaires Robert E. Whitehead
therefore declares a disaster due to the sanitation crisis due to
flooding in Khartoum State. End Summary.

Government, NGOs Respond to Flooding, Request Assistance
---------------------------- ----------------------------

3. (U) Between August 23-29, Khartoum State received unusually
heavy rain resulting in widespread flooding and a 22-hour power
outage throughout the region. During August 29- 30, Sudanese
government officials and humanitarian organizations conducted joint
assessments of flood damage and immediate needs. According to
Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which works in the IDP settlements
and participated in the assessment, flooding affected 22,291
households and damaged or destroyed 6,750 latrines. Local media
reports indicated that rain storms had resulted in the death of at
least 14 people and the collapse of 68 schools.

4. (U) Government agencies and NGOs responded immediately with
assistance for shelter and clean drinking water for those displaced
by the floods. However, on September 6, the Khartoum State Ministry
of Health requested additional assistance to respond to public
health concerns caused by damaged and flooded latrines. CRS notes
that many affected people remain without appropriate shelter, and
that additional assistance is required.

Disaster Declaration
--------------------

5. (U) As Chief of Mission, I hereby declare a flooding disaster in
Sudanese state of Khartoum due heavy rain, and requests USAID/OFDA
assistance be made available to assist the affected communities in
Soba, Mayo, and other IDP settlements around Khartoum State. The
scale of the sanitation emergency exceeds the Government of Sudan's
and the State of Khartoum's joint capacity to respond, and poses a
severe public health risk to the community. The Government of Sudan
has indicated it wishes to receive USG assistance. It is in the
interest of the United States to provide help based on local needs
assessments conducted by U.N. agencies and NGOs. Such assistance
will help prevent an outbreak of cholera and other waterborne
diseases in these densely populated areas.

6. (U) The Charge requests USD 50,000 through the Chief of Mission
authority to support CRS efforts to respond to the public health
risk in Khartoum.


WHITEHEAD

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