At least five people, including four children, have died after torrential rain overnight led to flooding in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan, the emergency services said Tuesday.
“We have been called upon since 0300 (GMT and local). Sadly five people, including four children, have been killed,” the head of the fire brigade, General Issa Sacko, told AFP.
“The children died in a landslip, and the adult was swept away by the water” in the city’s Bingerville neighbourhood.
He added that 85 people had been rescued and one taken to hospital, while a building threatening to collapse was evacuated.
Heavy rain fell through the night, flooding many neighbourhoods of Abidjan and leaving several key roads unusable.
In Bingerville, residents cleared out their homes after the water finally receded.
One inhabitant, Pricile Ziyahe, said she had lost everything in the flood.
“I have nothing left at home. The water swept it all away. We have nothing to wear or eat,” she said.
“All our documents and diplomas, everything’s gone.”
Cynthia Koffi, a medicine student, said the water rose so high it broke her home’s windows.
“At the neighbours’ opposite, you couldn’t even see the garage roof anymore,” she said.
Between Monday and midday Tuesday, some neighbourhoods in Abidjan received around 200 millimetres (eight inches) of rainfall, the equivalent of several weeks of rain, according to data from the Ivorian meteorological agency.
Residents posted images on social media showing the extent of the flooding in their homes or neighbourhoods and calling for help.
Last week, six people died after torrential rain triggered a landslip in the city’s western neighbourhood of Mossikro.
Landslips during the rainy season are a notorious risk in the fast-growing city of five million people, with flood-prone areas often inhabited by low-income citizens.
Previous accidents claimed 18 lives in June 2018 and 13 in June 2020.