Morocco flash floods leave dozens dead

At least 31 people washed away and dozens missing as storm hits southern part of the north African country.

    Flash flooding in southern Morocco has reportedly killed at least 31 people, with many others still missing.

    Heavy storms have swept across several regions including tourist hub Marrakesh, where torrential rain destroyed many mud homes on Sunday.

    Roads and highways were blocked off, making it hard for emergency crew to reach people.

    It was forecast that more than 100 millimetres of rain would fall, but nothing has been done. They just waited for the catastrophe to unfold.

    Brahim Boulid, Journalist

    The "exceptional" storms also swept across the regions of Guelmim, Agadir and Ouarzazate, and a search was under way for the missing, the authorities said.

    Journalist Brahim Boulid, reporting from Guelmim, told Al Jazeera on Monday that the death toll stood at 31, including eight members of the same family who died after floods swept away their vehicle.

    The Arabic-language dailies Al Massae and Al Ahdath gave death tolls of 16 and 22 respectively.

    About 130 all-terrain rescue vehicles and 335 Zodiac inflatables and other boats were being used, the interior ministry said, in a statement carried by the North African country's MAP news agency.

    The agency said at least 14 people remained missing in Guelmim, 200km south of Agadir.

    The national weather service warned that an alert over more heavy rainfall would remain in place until midday on Monday.

    It said about 100 mud-brick homes were partly or totally destroyed in the south, and 100 roads cut off, including six national highways.

    Boulid told Al Jazeera that authorities were warned that the amount of rainfall would trigger floods but chose to ignore them.

    "It was forecast that more than 100 millimetres of rain would fall, but nothing has been done. They just waited for the catastrophe to unfold," Boulid said.

    Flash floods are common in Morocco, where four children drowned in the south in September when they were swept away. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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