Two more people were swept away by flood waters in Tangier after a river overflowed its banks, submerging 170 manufacturing plants.

Workers trapped

Thousands of the city's industrial workers were left stranded for most of Thursday night as water levels reached 1.5 metres. The men were eventually rescued by the emergency services.

Morocco's official news agency, MAP, quoted a Tangier's businessman as saying: "All the plants in the manufacturing area, which employs up to 30,000 workers, were shut down and will need four weeks to three months to resume work."

Business leaders have reported damage to machinery and products - mostly textiles for export to Europe.

Khalid Naciri, a government spokesman, said: 'It's been exceptionally bad weather, and the government has mobilised to help the affected populations and repair infrastructure destroyed by the floods."

Morocco's interior ministry confirmed emergency services, including army units, had been dispatched to help residents. Officials said the northeastern city of Taza had also suffered major damage caused by the floods.

Rain levels in the north African country have been at their highest for 35 years during the past month, according to weather officials.