Feature: Senegalese suffer disastrous raining season despite gov't aid

Source: Xinhua| 2020-09-10 23:47:27|Editor: huaxia

A house is partially destroyed by flood caused by the rainfall in Dakar's suburb Camberene, Senegal, on Sept. 9, 2020. (Photo by Louis Denga/Xinhua)

By Louis Denga

DAKAR, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- During this year's rainy season, Senegal has been facing torential rains which have caused six death and extensive material damage, especially in the capital Dakar and its suburbs.

According to Senegalese Ministry of Water and Sanitation, the equivalent of three months of rain fell in just one day in Senegal on Sept. 5, and thousands of Senegalese households were flooded in just a few hours.

After a first weekend of extreme weather, Senegalese President Macky Sall activated the ORSEC (organization of rescues) to relieve the affected population. Also he announced a mobilization of 10 billion Francs CFA (about 18 million U.S. dollars) to deal with the natural disaster. About a quarter of the fund is reserved for draining waters.

According to local council and Senegalese Red Cross, in Dakar's suburb Camberene where more than 50,000 residents struggle every year during rainy season, about 80 households were flooded or partially destroyed by last week's non-stop heavy rains. Water was not evacuated out for days until the firefighters intervened with heavy equipements.

"We were drinking tea and someone screamed. By the time I left my house, the water was already at a very high level. I could only rescue my family, the children, the grandchildren, my wife," Ibrahima Sene, a 68-year-old man in Camberene told Xinhua.

After his house was flooded last weekend, he had some low brick walls built around his land to prevent another disaster. In his yard, his family's mattresses, clothes, books and furniture are still drying in the sun.

"We lost everything except lives. Our papers, our laptops, everything ... Even food, since the COVID-19, the state gave us rice, oil and other necessities, but all are now lost," Sene said, explaining that similar rain-related incidents happend every year due to a poor drainage system in his neighborhood.

In front of his door, Sene thanked a Senegalese Red Cross team. With more than 200 volunteers, the association was one of the first on the scene to help the residents.

"There is a risk of drowning of children or the elderly, but also a great risk of infection from the sewage entering the houses," said Ndeye Mbaye, the local president of the Senegalese Red Cross in Camberene.

With a small team of five volunteers, she waited for the end of the rains and the pumping of water by the firefighters to begin cleaning and disinfecting the flooded households.

"In some streets, water got up to my chest level. But it's not just rainwater, it's mostly water full of dirt and bacteria, so everything has to be cleaned up," she continued.

Despite Senegalese president Macky Sall's promises and the government's recently implemented emergency plan, Mbaye still worries about the next rains.

"Ten billion (Francs CFA) aid cannot be enough for suburbs as large and poorly developed as Camberene. Every year during the rainy season, we still have the same problems despite the financial aid," she said.

This year, in West Africa and Sahel, especially Senegal, Mauritania, along with Burkina Faso, hundreds of thousands of people have become victims of an intense rainy season and flooding. Enditem

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