Senegalese President Macky Sall has activated an emergency aid plan after a seven-hour downpour caused widespread floods.
Water Minister Serigne Mbaye Thiam told national television that Saturday had seen more rain fall in a single day than the country usually sees in three months of rainy season.
“This is an exceptional rainfall. We registered 124 millimetres of rain. This is the cumulative rain we get during the whole rainy season from July to September,” Thiam said.
Senegal’s private radio station RFM said three children died in the floods, two in the southern Casamance region and one in the northern Kanel region.
In the Guediawaye district near the capital, Dakar, volunteers raced to remove flood water and debris from a heavily flooded health centre.
“More than five communities use this health centre and we are desperate and we don’t know what to say and ask for help. We have seen no mayor, no councillor, no firefighters. We have seen no one,” resident Momodou Baye Fall told Reuters news agency.
Heavy rains have been recorded in the Sahel regions of West and Central Africa in the past week, including in Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon, leading to devastating floods that have killed dozens and displaced thousands of people.
In Niger’s capital, Niamey, a levee on the right bank of the Niger River burst on Sunday following heavy rains, forcing families in several neighbourhoods to evacuate.