DAKAR, Senegal – Six people drowned or were killed by falling structures over the weekend, after a torrential rain lashed Senegal, causing houses to crumble and neighborhoods to flood under the rushing water.
President Macky Sall cut short his trip to South Africa, and was returning to Senegal where he had ordered a full emergency response, said spokesman Abou Abel Thiam Monday.
The low-lying suburbs of the capital, Dakar, flood every year, but this weekend's rain and the flooding that accompanied it were on a different order of magnitude.
"These rains are worse in terms of their intensity. If you just look at the quantity of the water," said Thiam. "We have never seen 156 millimeters (6.1 inches) of rain fall in a two-hour window. That's what happened yesterday morning."
The floodwaters inundated most of the capital's neighborhoods, including National Highway No. 1, which connects Dakar to the rest of the country. A Delta flight was unable to leave the airport located in Yoff, a suburb where the main hospital also flooded, according to local media reports.
Three children died when their house collapsed under the weight of the pounding rain near Fatick, a town in the interior, according to the state-run news agency APS. A boy drowned in Keur Mbaye, when he fell inside a submerged canal. And in the holy city of Touba, a 90-year-old woman drowned in her house, while a 27-year-old was killed by a falling wall, the agency reported.
News portal Seneweb.com showed pictures of flooded mosques, and of women wading in hip-high water. On Monday, there was a bank of sand on many of the roads in Dakar, the residue of the receding liquid.