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Climate change is to blame for Sudan's flash floods -- Experts

KHARTOUM, Sept 24 (KUNA) -- The recent torrential rains and unusual flash floods had devastating impacts on man and infrastructure whether in urban or rural areas across Sudan.
Climate change is the main culprit for the problem of extremely rough weather, meteorologists believe.
La Nina and El Nino, two weather patterns that describe, respectively, the cooling and warming of sea surface, showed unusual temperatures in the recent years.
La Nino brought warmer than normal sea-surface temperatures (in red) to the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean, triggering extreme weather in Sudan and other areas the globe, they argue.
The casualties from the recent floods in 11 states in Sudan has topped 84 deaths and 67 wounded since the start of the rain season, said Abdul-Jalil Abdul-Rahim, spokesman of the Sudanese directorate general of civil defense. "Those victims were either drowned, electrocuted or buried under debris of their homes," he noted in statements to KUNA.
According to estimates of UN aid agencies, more than 288 persons have fallen victim to the flash floods in 13, out of the 18, states in Sudan.
At least 13,400 homes were destroyed and 43,700 others partially damaged until mid-September in addition to the yet-to-be-specified damage to infrastructure and farmland, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported.
The rain season in Sudan between June and October usually causes human and material damage.
It forced the authorities to declare a state of emergency for three months last year after affecting 650,000 people badly and damaging more than 110,000 homes.
The changes in the two weather patterns La Nina and El Nino contribute to climate change, which, in turn, affects large parts of the world, including the River Nile Basin countries, Salman Mohammad Ahmad, a water expert, told KUNA.
"These changes resulted in discrepancies in rainfalls and risk causing a serious long-lasting degeneration of environment," he cautioned.
On his part, Al-Fateh Al-Taher, a hydrologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, blamed the changes in El Nino to the greenhouse emissions.
The unusually warm temperatures in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean prompted torrential rains on the Ethiopian Plateau and the eastern side of the River Nile Basin, he pointed out.
"Meticulous study of the impacts of El Nino on our region could help predict the level of rainfalls and provide necessary data for drawing up future water strategies," Al-Taher said.
The increasing levels of rainfall in the region are likely to raise the annual level of water flow in the River Nile by 10-15 percent, which means in hike in the annual level of water from 80 cubic km. in the 20th century to 92 c.km in the 21st century.
Forecasts of seasonal floods, capitalizing on El Nino changes, are being provided to water strategists to help them have a clear insight into the outlook of water resources and ensure the water security, Al-Taher added. (end) mam.gb