3 things to know about Sudan and the environment

Posted: April 27, 2013 in All Posts, Sudan

1. Inadequate supplies of potable water

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Installation of a fresh water pump by The Water Project group in Sudan

• In Sudan the Nile River is the main source of surface water with water systems and wells etc. being a scarcity. Access to the Nile is restricted mainly for those who reside nearby due to the unforgiving terrain. The Nile itself experiences shortages depending on the weather.
• During Sudan’s ever present hot seasons, there can be substantial amounts of evaporation that reduce the Nile’s capacity to supply water. Also with rainfall in Sudan taking place very erratically and during just a short season of the year, there isn’t much water carried over from these rains and the Nile suffers because of it.
• The Sudanese government has also played a factor in aiding to water crisis, as ironically as it may sound. The conflict between non-Arab farmers and Arab herders over use of the land, coupled with the agricultural procedures forced upon the citizens by the Sudanese government has created major tensions. Irrigation systems controlled by the government have destroyed small farmers by taking away their water supplies resulted in the conflict in the first place.
• Now, as the situation has grown more violent and human casualties have increased, many Sudanese people have been forced out of their homes and into refugee camps, or even across the borders into other countries, in order to seek safety. Many of the farmers and herders who had managed thus far to make a living have had to give up their land, and their access to water, in favor of moving themselves to an area away from the warfare. This is only serving to increase resentment and add to the growing problem.

2. Declining wildlife populations because of warfare and excessive hunting

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Remains of the ever present poaching epidemic in South Sudan especially

• The cause of the continent-wide decline is mainly due in equal parts lack of money and willing people to police parks, as well as the encroachment of humans on animal habitats. In addition, the ever present warfare and the growing bushmeat trade is said to have decimated populations.

• The numbers of elephants, hippos and other animals are believed to have also plummeted in southern Sudan, following years of war. The now independent country has the world’s second largest annual migration of large mammals and vast herds of gazelle and antelope, but these have been decimated by fighters hunting them for meat, skins/fur tusks etc. While wildlife declines in protected areas were concern invoking, researchers say the loss of large mammals outside parks and reserves were much worse, considering many species such as the rhino which is now practically extinct outside protected areas.

3. Periodic droughts

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A failed attempt at farming in the scorched climate of Sudan.

• As brought up earlier in this post, Sudan has an extremely volatile climate also known as the inter-tropical convergence zone that some scientists call the ITCZ or “itch” for short. Regions residing in the “itch” experience extreme weather, both flooding and drought, which seem to be intensifying. Most scientists believe this is one effect of climate change, which has taken a devastating effect on Sudanese agriculture.

• As the earth grows warmer, and rains are no longer dependable, farmers no longer know when to plant their crops. Centuries-old traditions and climate cycles are changing, and no one knows how to predict them. As a result, crops fail and famine is now wide spread throughout Sudan.

-Darren Jeters

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