Sudan Cabinet Holds Emergency Meeting after 23 Die in Floods

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Sudan's cabinet met in emergency session Tuesday after flooding killed 23 people, destroyed thousands of homes and sparked complaints of government negligence.

Khartoum state Governor Abdel Rahman al-Khidir announced "the death of 17 persons and collapse of 3,077 houses," the official SUNA news agency said.

Another six people died in Gezira state, south of the capital, SUNA said earlier, citing a local government minister. Five were electrocuted and one died when his home collapsed.

Along with Interior Minister Ismat Abdul-Rahman, the governors of flood-hit states were to address the cabinet meeting "devoted to the impact of rains and floods that hit large areas of the country recently," SUNA said.

As Sudan's rainy season begins, there have already been three brief, violent storms in the capital region and beyond since July 25.

After the latest ferocious downpour early Sunday, Agence France Presse found hundreds of families digging through the rubble of their collapsed homes in the Salha district of Khartoum's twin city Omdurman.

They complained that emergency shelter and other help has been slow to arrive but Khidir said "all affected families" had received tents and other aid by Monday.

The opposition Reform Now party has called for Khidir's dismissal "because he completely failed to have a solution to the rainy crisis which is repeated every year."

Khidir said Khartoum started construction two years ago of a 2,200-kilometer (1,364-mile) concrete drainage system under a seven-year plan aimed at preventing flooding, SUNA reported after the governor briefed First Vice-President Bakri Hassan Saleh Monday.

An inundation last August was the worst to strike the capital in a quarter-century and affected more than 180,000 people, the United Nations said.

Those floods caused about 50 deaths nationwide, most of them in Khartoum.

More rain is expected this week.

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