Sudan has called on the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to provide urgent help to protect the archaeological sites of Meroe north of Khartoum from the floods affecting the country.
The request was made during a meeting between Sudan’s permanent representative to UNESCO, Jubeir Ismail Jubeir, and the organisation’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, Ottone Ramirez, in Paris on Sunday, the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) has reported. The agenda covered the threats to the archaeologically significant areas of Napata and Meroe, which are World Heritage sites.
Jubeir explained that Sudan’s archaeological sites are facing an unprecedented threat. He called on the Heritage Emergency Fund to provide urgent assistance to the Sudanese authorities. The Sudanese official added that UNESCO’s assistance is necessary to back official and popular efforts to protect the royal city of Al-Bajrawiya, and ensure the safety of archaeological workers.
The National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums in Sudan said last month that the flooding of the River Nile threatens the country’s archaeological sites. Floodwater has already covered parts of the Royal Baths in the ancient city of Meroe. This was the capital of the kingdom of Kush, which ruled along the Nile’s east bank about 200 kilometres north of Khartoum in the early 6th century BC.
At least 138 people have been killed by the floods since the start of Sudan’s rainy season in June. On 5 September, the Security and Defence Council declared a state of emergency to tackle the flooding. The country is now designated as a disaster zone. The rainy season in Sudan generally lasts until October. Flooding occurs every year.