The number of people at risk of contracting any water-related diseased increase from 5.6 million in April to more than 10 million in October 2020, following the recent rains and floods in Sudan, and the massive destruction of key water and sanitation infrastructure. The heavy rainfall has damaged or contaminated hundreds of water sources, destroyed or inundated several thousands of latrines, forcing people to rely on unsafe water sources or practice open defecation, in a country already dealing with several health emergencies. Stagnant water also poses more challenges to control water-borne and vector-borne diseases, and cases of malaria, chikungunya and other diseases have been reported.
In Sudan, more than 63 per cent of the population have no access to basic sanitation, 23 per cent do not have access to a handwashing facility with soap and water and 40 per cent do not have access to basic drinking water services. The situation is now worse for more than 40,000 people of Twakar, in Red Sea State, following the collapse of the main water station of the locality in the last weeks, and for more than 100,000 people in Blue Nile State, due to the collapse of the Bout Earth Dam at the end of July.
With the destruction caused by the heavy rainfall, treatment of water sources and distribution of clean water and treatment products to families affected will be crucial. Reparations to water pumps, latrines, vector-control as well as waste management activities are urgent to prevent health emergencies. Families also need hygiene kits, including specific products for women and girls of reproductive age. Raise-awareness campaigns will be key to prevent outbreaks, including cholera and further transmissions of COVID-19.
WASH partners have reached around 350,000 people in priority areas with life-saving activities, including water treatment, distribution of hygiene and sanitation items as buckets, jerry cans, soaps. Hygiene promotion activities, including the broadcasting of health and hygiene awareness messages through the radio, are reaching millions of people across Sudan, with support of UNICEF.
WHO and UNICEF prepositioned kits across the country enough to treat 5,000 cases of cholera and 15,000 cases of acute watery diarrhoea.
Partners have also completed the monitoring of the water quality in 13 states, showing that over 30 per cent of the samples had biological contamination and more than 20 per cent had no chlorine to make it safe to drink.
Across the country, more than 380 public health officers or sanitary personnel were trained on water monitoring (53) and vector-control strategies (330). Water quality monitoring is done regularly across the country, with more than 30,000 samples collected and analyzed.
Vector-control measures were conducted in nearly 58,300 mosquito breeding sites and additional adult-control measures covered over 2,330 km2 and more than 78,200 families.
In Gedaref, more than 4,700 families in all affected localities received key supplies, including jerry cans, soap and water treatment products.
In Red Sea, humanitarians supported the State Ministry of Health with the distribution of 7,000 mosquito nets and three water bladders were installed to provide safe drinking water to the population affected by the floods.
In West Kordofan, nearly 6,000 families received soap bars.
The funding for water, sanitation and hygiene services, critical for the floods response and also to prevent COVID-19 transmissions, is extremely low, at 22 per cent of the total US$71.6 million required this year. The WASH Cluster calculated that at least $7.5 million is urgently needed to procure additional supplies and carry out emergency activities, as well as intensify the preparation for the possible disease outbreaks after the floods.