Flooding devastates farms in parts of Sudan – U.N.

RECORD floods in Sudan have affected nearly one third of cultivated land and about 3 million people from agricultural households, worsening already acute levels of food insecurity, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

The floods have added to hardship in Sudan, already struggling with an economic crisis and one of the world’s highest rates of inflation when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

About 2.2 million hectares of cropland has been flooded and 108,000 head of livestock lost, according to an FAO assessment. Some 1.1 million tonnes of grain was destroyed in planted areas, most of it sorghum, a staple in Sudan, said Dominique Burgeon, a senior FAO official.

Women from some of nearly 600,000 affected agricultural households told the FAO they were cutting down to one small meal per day after their sorghum was washed away just before harvest, he said.

Commercial crops including bananas and mangos have also been badly hit.

The floods have also destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of homes and left more than 100 people dead. They have affected about 150,000 refugees and displaced people, the U.N. refugee agency has said.

“It’s a severe situation that needs mobilisation and support from the international community,” Burgeon said.

The United Nations estimates that 9.6 million people face acute food insecurity in Sudan, the highest number on record.

Locust swarms that have devastated crops in the Horn of Africa this year also still threaten the country, the FAO says. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.