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Senegal's President Macky Sall is cutting short a private visit to South Africa to return to Dakar because of severe flooding that has claimed at least 13 lives, his office said Monday.
Sall “will return to Dakar tomorrow (Tuesday) because of the floods. He was due to come today, but his plane was not available”, a source in the presidential communications service told AFP.
At least four people died on Sunday in the west African country following “exceptional” rains that did serious property damage, according to the national meteorological office.
Residents held demonstrations on Sunday and Monday in Dakar to denounce the authorities for failing to act faster and were dispersed by police using tear gas, witnesses said.
In several places, such as the seaside capital and its suburbs, and Touba and Fatick in the centre of the country, roads were cut and houses collapsed, witnesses said.
Sall left for South Africa on Friday for a stay of undisclosed duration, but would be back in good time for a cabinet meeting on Thursday, his office said.
The latest deaths bring to at least 13 the number of people who have lost their lives to the floods over the past two weeks. On August 14, nine people including a baby were drowned in flash floods and when walls collapsed in the capital.
The Senegalese government has already implemented an emergency plan put on standby for such occasions. This plan is intended to enable officials to increase financial and material assistance across the country.
Flooding is frequent during the rainy season in Senegal, generally between July and October. - Sapa-AFP