Sudan: Omdurman

Omdurman (standard Arabic: أم درمان‎ Umm Durmān) is the second largest city in Sudan and Khartoum State, lying on the western banks of the River Nile, opposite the capital, Khartoum. Omdurman has a population of 2,395,159 (2008) and is the national centre of commerce.

Omdurman features a hot arid climate, with only the summer months seeing noticeable precipitation. The city averages a little over 155 millimetres (6.1 in) of precipitation per year. Based on annual mean temperatures, the city is one of the hottest major cities in the world. Temperatures routinely exceeds 40 °C (104 °F) in mid-summer.

Its average annual high temperature is 37.1 °C (99 °F), with six months of the year seeing an average monthly high temperature of at least 38 °C (100 °F). Furthermore, throughout the year, none of its monthly average high temperatures falls below 30 °C (86 °F). During the months of January and February, while daytime temperatures are generally very warm, nights are relatively cool, with average low temperatures just above 15 °C (59 °F).

Khartoum State (Arabic: ولاية الخرطوم‎, translit. Wilāyat al-Xarṭūm) is one of the eighteen states of Sudan. Although it is the smallest state by area (22,142 km2), it is the most populous (5,274,321 in 2008 census). It contains the country's second largest city by population, Omdurman, and the city of Khartoum, which is the capital of the state as well as the national capital of Sudan. The capital city contains offices of the state, governmental and non-governmental organizations, cultural institutions, and the main airport.

The city is located in the heart of Sudan at the confluence of the White Nile and the Blue Nile, where the two rivers unite to form the River Nile. The confluence of the two rivers creates a unique effect. As they join, each river retains its own color: the White Nile with its bright whiteness and the Blue Nile with its alluvial brown color. These colors are more visible in the flood season.

The state lies between longitudes 31.5 to 34 °E and latitudes 15 to 16 °N. It is surrounded by River Nile State in the north-east, in the north-west by the Northern State, in the east and southeast by the states of Kassala, Qadarif, Gezira and White Nile State, and in the west by North Kurdufan.

The 2008 population census estimates the population of Khartoum state to be about 21, composed of various tribes of the Sudan. The population is 79% urban, and 74% of the state's population reported their region of origin to be outside Khartoum.

The areas of Omdurman and the rural South are inhabited by the tribe of Gamowia, as well as by the Kordofani tribes displaced to these areas by the drought and desertification that hit their areas in the early- and mid-1980s. These are the tribes of the Kababish and the Kawahla. In the northern countryside of Karari locality are the tribe of Shiheinat, and in Khartoum North the tribes of Abdallab and Batahin. In the East Nile are the tribes of Abu Dileig, Batahin, and Kawahla, with the tribe of Iseilat in Um-Dowan.

Most of the population works in government service, the private sector, and banking. There is also a large number of merchants, and migrants and displaced people working in marginal activities. In the countryside most people are engaged in agriculture and grazing and thus supply the capital, Khartoum, with vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. There are also some residents living on the banks of the rivers engaged in the trades dependent on the rivers, such as pottery, brick-making and fishing. Above all stands the strong ambition to become the new Dubai with the financial support coming from the oil and gas supplies of the country.

Sudan is situated in northern Africa, with a 853 km (530 mi) coastline bordering the Red Sea. It has land borders with Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad, and Libya. With an area of 1,886,068 km2 (728,215 sq mi), it is the third largest country on the continent (after Algeria and Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the sixteenth largest in the world.

Sudan lies between latitudes 8° and 23°N. The terrain is generally flat plains, broken by several mountain ranges. In the west the Deriba Caldera (3,042 m or 9,980 ft), located in the Marrah Mountains, is the highest point in Sudan. In the east are the Red Sea Hills.

The Blue and White Nile rivers meet in Khartoum to form the River Nile, which flows northwards through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. The Blue Nile's course through Sudan is nearly 800 km (497 mi) long and is joined by the Dinder and Rahad Rivers between Sennar and Khartoum. The White Nile within Sudan has no significant tributaries.

There are several dams on the Blue and White Niles. Among them are the Sennar and Roseires Dams on the Blue Nile, and the Jebel Aulia Dam on the White Nile. There is also Lake Nubia on the Sudanese-Egyptian border.

Rich mineral resources are available in Sudan including asbestos, chromite, cobalt, copper, gold, granite, gypsum, iron, kaolin, lead, manganese, mica, natural gas, nickel, petroleum, silver, tin, uranium and zinc.

Several UN agents are operating in Sudan such as the World Food Program (WFP); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO); the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); the United Nations Industrial Development Organizations (UNIDO); the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the United Nations Mine Service (UNMAS), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the World Bank. Also present is the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Since Sudan has experienced civil war for many years, many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are also involved in humanitarian efforts to help internally displaced people. The NGOs are working in every corner of Sudan, especially in the southern part and western parts. During the civil war, international nongovernmental organizations such as the Red Cross were operating mostly in the south but based in the capital Khartoum. The attention of NGOs shifted shortly after the war broke out in the western part of Sudan known as Darfur. The most visible organization in South Sudan is the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) consortium. Some international trade organizations categorize Sudan as part of the Greater Horn of Africa

Even though most of the international organizations are substantially concentrated in both South Sudan and Darfur region, some of them are working in the northern part as well. For example, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization is successfully operating in Khartoum, the capital. It is mainly funded by the European Union and recently opened more vocational training. The Canadian International Development Agency is operating largely in northern Sudan.

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