June 24, 2024

Floods, landslides kill 24 in Ivory Coast


Floods and landslides killed at least 24 people in 10 days in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s largest city, authorities said Monday after an unusually intense start to the rainy season.

Rain around four times heavier than normal fell on the West African nation’s economic capital over several days in that period, causing spectacular rises in water levels and landslides.

The National Office for Civil Protection (ONPC) reported 24 deaths after “torrential rains from Thursday 13 to Saturday 22 June”, warning of the risk of collapsed buildings.

Two more people were missing after being “swept away by the waters”, the ONPC statement added.

It updated a toll given by the fire service on June 15, which said that eight people had died after the exceptionally heavy downpours.

About a quarter of the precipitation expected over the entire three-month rainy season from May to July fell in 24 hours, the national meteorological service Sodexam said.

In the commune of Yopougon, Sodexam recorded 214 millimetres (8.4 inches) of rain in a day. The normal level is 50 millimetres (two inches).

Torrential rains followed by devastating floods are a regular occurrence in Abidjan, home to nearly six million people.

Many poorer residents live in shacks located in flood-prone areas, despite the government launching a mass clean-up policy which has destroyed many shanty towns.

In 2023, at least 30 people died in flooding and other incidents linked to heavy rains in the West African nation.