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Four peacekeepers missing in Sudan's Darfur flood: UNAMID
by Staff Writers
Khartoum (AFP) Aug 26, 2013


Half a million affected by Sudan floods: UN
Khartoum (AFP) Aug 27, 2013 - The impact of Sudan's floods has widened, the United Nations said on Tuesday, with more than half a million people affected by this month's inundations.

"An estimated 574,540 people have been affected," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, citing government figures.

The number of flood victims has risen as more rains come down and new information becomes available.

About 50 people have died from the heavy rains and floods, according to the government.

Khartoum and its surrounding region is worst-hit, with more than 180,000 people affected, OCHA said, describing flooding in the capital as the worst in 25 years.

But figures cited by the UN show that almost every other state has also been struck.

War-torn Blue Nile is among the worst, with more than 125,000 people affected there.

The state-linked Sudanese Media Centre reported that heavy rains hit Blue Nile state on Monday.

On Saturday, an AFP reporter found dirt roads in southern Khartoum's Soba neighbourhood still flooded, making access difficult.

There is also concern about the Blue Nile river which has already overflowed its eastern bank and washed over farmland on the capital's east side.

Four peacekeepers are missing in Sudan's troubled Darfur region after a flash flood hit while they escorted an aid mission, UNAMID said on Monday.

"A UNAMID rescue team from El Geneina, West Darfur, found two peacekeepers alive while a search is ongoing to locate the other four," an official of the African Union-United Nations Mission (UNAMID) told AFP.

UNAMID did not release the nationality of the troops involved.

The six were swept away "by a powerful current" while escorting the World Food Programme (WFP) to Misterei, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) southwest of El Geneina, the West Darfur state capital near Chad, the official said requesting anonymity.

"The incident occurred while the peacekeepers attempted to pull out their truck which was stuck in the mud of a river valley", the official added.

Floods across Sudan this month have killed about 50 people and affected more than 500,000, according to government figures.

WFP spokeswoman Amor Almagro told AFP that the agency's five Sudanese and two foreign staffers are all safe.

They were going to monitor WFP projects in Misterei, where the organisation gives food assistance to about 10,900 people, she said.

In August last year three UNAMID peacekeepers from Tanzania drowned after their armoured vehicle became stranded while crossing a swollen river, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reported to the Security Council last year.

He has also raised concerns about equipment shortfalls "which mainly pertain to the serviceability of armoured personnel carriers," and adversely affect the mission's operations.

UNAMID is one of the world's largest peacekeeping missions, with about 20,000 troops and police.

Its mandate is to protect civilians and provide security for aid workers in the region where violence has worsened this year, mainly because of inter-Arab tribal battles.

Thirteen peacekeepers have died in hostile action in Darfur since last October.

More than one million displaced people have been living in Darfur camps for a decade, the UN says, since rebels began an insurrection against the Arab-dominated government.

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