In 2020 Sudan was hit by severe floods, with almost 175,000 homes destroyed or damaged. Kassala was particularly impacted, prompting UNDP to begin flood prevention interventions.
As part of its activities UNDP has rehabilitated five flood protection embankments and river spurs along the Gash River, which cuts through Kassala City, repaired a river flood monitoring station for flood early warning, and upgraded the Flood Early Warning Centre in Kassala State.
2020’s catastrophic flooding caused widespread damage across Sudan, including in Kassala State, and its capital Kassala City, which is bisected by the Gash River.
To help prevent a repeat of the catastrophic damage, UNDP has invested in flood protection civil works along the river, including four flood protection river spurs and one embankment on the Gash.
The project saw more than 690 tons of earth moved, and 1700 m³ of embankments and spurs constructed, helping divert direct water flows, protect riverbanks from erosion and further flood damage, and decrease impacts of future rainy seasons.
A river water level monitoring station has also been repaired on the river, alongside Kassala Town’s main bridge, providing improved early warnings in case of rising water levels.
“These investments will protect lives, livelihoods and assets,” said Trond Husby, UNDP Sudan’s Crisis Coordinator, “and form part of our broader efforts to support vulnerable communities and ensure longer-term solutions to Sudan’s reoccurring challenges.”
“This is particularly critical in Kassala, with limited infrastructure and high levels of displaced people, all potential risks to stability in the area.”
Supporting local capabilities to prepare and respond to crisis events, UNDP has also assisted state crisis management committees, and Kassala State's Flood Early Warning Centre, with the center receiving new equipment, and a dedicated UNDP staff member to support flood preparedness and analyze flood/natural hazard data for decision making and early action.
"What we're doing in terms of flood preparedness is important because it not only protects Kassala city from floods but also surrounding towns," said Eltayeb Awadelkrim, the UNDP staff member deployed to the Centre. "This allows us to prepare better for the next rainy season through all the data we're collecting and analyzing."
"Our work on the Gash River is particularly important because a lot of surrounding towns get their water supply from the river as well as primary source of water for Al Gash Agricultural Scheme, Kassala's largest agricultural scheme."
These efforts form part of UNDP's response to crises in Sudan's Eastern states, with more than USD 2m of support provided to date -- including trials of mechanized production of brick-like stabilized soil blocks (SSBs) to easily raise housing foundations above usual flood levels, and construction of demonstration 'flood-resilient' homes.