At least 23 dead in floods in Mali capital: government

August 29, 2013 3:57 pm
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People drive in central Bamako on August 15, 2013. At least 23 people have been killed in flash floods caused by torrential rain in the Malian capital Bamako, a government official said on Thursday./AFP
People drive in central Bamako on August 15, 2013. At least 23 people have been killed in flash floods caused by torrential rain in the Malian capital Bamako/AFP

, BAMAKO, August 29- At least 23 people have been killed in flash floods caused by torrential rain in the Malian capital Bamako, a government official said on Thursday.

“There have been 23 people killed,” Alassane Bocoum, the national director of social development, told AFP, adding that all had been identified.

He said thousands of people had been made homeless after around 100 houses were destroyed in several hours of heavy rain on Wednesday in the city of around two million people.

The worst damage was done to poorly constructed homes on drainage sites on the banks of the Niger river.

“A monitoring group has been set up to get people to abandon homes built largely of dried mud that could collapse,” Bocoum added.

Flooding often leads to widespread displacements and casualties during west Africa’s June to October rainy season, as well as disease outbreaks due partly to poor sanitation.

Entire streets and several bridges across Bamako were submerged as motorcyclists and pedestrians found themselves caught up in flash flooding.

Bamako mayor Konte Fatoumata Doumbia said two schools equipped with mattresses and mosquito nets had been set up as emergency shelters for the homeless, the state-owned national daily newspaper Le Progres reported.

But other residents were wandering the streets, not knowing where to go for help, it said.

“We lost everything: cereal, materials, clothes. This is a disaster,” Sory Ibrahima Dabo told the paper.

As workers and householders began the massive clean up operation, local government officials became the focus of much of the anger, with residents accusing the authorities of failing to maintain a proper drainage system.

“I have been in this neighbourhood for 30 years. I have seen floods here but never on such a scale. This is the first time I have seen such a large amount of rain fall,” Amadou Sidoro told Progress.

“What are they doing with our taxes? It is always the poor who bear the brunt of these disasters.”

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