Reading uni announces project ‘to better understand and predict’ Nile floods in South Sudan, Uganda

Reading uni announces project ‘to better understand and predict’ Nile floods in South Sudan, Uganda
22 August 2023

By the Climate Centre

(A version of this story appeared first on the website of the University of Reading earlier today.)

A new international project is set to research how to better understand and predict flooding on the River Nile in Uganda and South Sudan, the University of Reading said today.

In 2021 the worst flooding in living memory in South Sudan affected nearly a million people.

Communities displaced by conflict (which disproportionately include more women and children) are especially vulnerable to the flood impacts, which include elevated food insecurity due to flooded crops and livestock deaths, and limited access to healthcare.

The new project, called Improved Anticipation of Flood on the White Nile (INFLOW), is part of the UK- and Canadian-supported Climate Adaptation and Resilience research programme and is led jointly by the University of Reading and the IGAD Climate Predictions and Forecasting Centre.

It holds a virtual inception meeting on the 18 and 19 September 2023 (register).

‘INFLOW will improve flood warning and lead to robust use of humanitarian resources’

Mohammed Hassan, a hydrometeorologist at ICPAC in Nairobi, said: “This is a complex river to model, with lakes, wetlands and water regulation infrastructure all requiring additional complexity within the hydrological models.

“As a transboundary river basin, improving hydrological modelling and flood management in the White Nile is also dependent on collaboration between upstream and downstream stakeholders, something that ICPAC strongly encourages.”

INFLOW includes national and regional hydrological agencies, academic institutions, humanitarian organizations and the private sector, working together on interdisciplinary research to deliver a step-change in the anticipation of flooding and its impacts.

INFLOW also includes Uganda’s environment ministry, and its Red Cross society and Makerere University, as well as the South Sudan Ministry of Irrigation; Médecins Sans Frontières and Google will provide in-kind support.

Professor Liz Stephens, of the University of Reading and the Climate Centre, said: “While anticipatory humanitarian action has the potential to provide support to vulnerable communities before disaster strikes, the flood-forecast models needed to inform these actions currently have poor skill in the region.

“INFLOW will be improving the accuracy of flood early warning information and the more robust use of humanitarian resources.”

Leo Tremblay of Médecins Sans Frontières said: “Child and women-headed households, the elderly and orphans are often more significantly affected by both flooding and conflict.

“INFLOW will provide the further research needed to better address their needs in this complex setting.”

The South Sudan Red Cross struggles through to communities affected by the worst floods in living memory two years ago. Nearly one million people were affected, the IFRC said. When this picture was taken, the Red Cross and the ICRC had provided 2,000 emergency shelter kits to affected families and medical supplies to stricken areas. (Photo: South Sudan Red Cross via IFRC)