Khartoum: Sudan on Monday warned Khartoum residents along the Nile of likely “massive floods” as water levels of the river rose to a record high following heavy rains in neighbouring Ethiopia.
The Blue Nile flowing to Sudan from Ethiopia converges with the White Nile in Khartoum, and from there they become the Nile which runs through the country into Egypt.
Almost 75 per cent of the water in the Nile is brought by the Blue Nile, which swells every year during the rainy season in Ethiopia.
“Water levels of Blue Nile and the Nile are rising, and today the level of the Nile reached its highest in 100 years in Khartoum,” the irrigation ministry said in a statement.
“The water level touched 17.14 metres (56 feet) in Khartoum, and is expected to rise more.”
Residents living along the Nile have to exercise caution in Khartoum and other states as “massive floods” are expected in the next two days, the ministry said.
Every year, Sudan battles heavy floods, and a downpour in August 2013 was the worst to hit Khartoum in 25 years, killing about 50 people in the capital.
About 100 people were killed last year across the country as torrential rains destroyed thousands of houses and submerged several villages.
Thousands of people in the impoverished eastern state of Kasala bordering Eritrea fled their homes after the river Gash burst its banks, flooding entire villages inhabited by farmers.
Many people sheltered in makeshift grass huts on hilltops, after floodwaters also cut off the main highway between east Sudan and the capital Khartoum.
Villagers braved waist-high water as they looked for food, drinking water and medicines amid a shortage of supplies, the AFP photographer said as he toured two flood-hit villages near the provincial capital Kasala.
Many people, mostly children, were seen drinking muddy rain water.
The floods happen so quickly that villagers have no time to gather their things.
This year the government is taking extra precautions by issuing the warning ahead of time, in order to give people more time to prepare to leave.