The construction of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam had no affect on recent floods that hit Sudan, the country’s minister of irrigation said on Tuesday. 

Speaking at a press conference in the capital Khartoum, Yasser Abas said the flashpoint Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) would protect Sudan from flooding when fully constructed.

Regional neighbors Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia have continued disputes over the building of GERD, especially on the issues of its filling and operation.

He added that the current flooding was the most severe in the last century, calling on the international community to help Sudan.

For his part, civil defense chairman Omer Saeed Ibrahim said authorities had evacuated 43 villages across the country.

“We’ve evacuated the population from around 43 villages inside and outside Khartoum, including Tooti Island and other areas like the Toker area in Eastern Sudan.”

The government has declared a state of emergency for three months due to the disaster that has caused the death of at least 100 people and the collapse of 40,000 houses.

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