Dakar suburbs under water

It’s said that after the rain comes sunshine. But in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, rain is followed by floods – why is why several suburbs are currently under water.

In Rufisque suburb, residents blame the authorities overseeing railway repairs and construction, who they accuse of blocking drainage channels. As a result, rainwater overflows onto streets and into houses.  Mattresses and kitchen utensils float around homes, and in the flooded roads carts are used for short distances because public transport has virtually ceased to function.

Even if the situation is exceptionally bad this year, because of poor maintenance or heavy rain, it’s not unusual for rain and sewage channels to overflow during the wet season.

“It’s a hell that returns every year, and the government is blocking all solutions. Our children become ill,” says Astou Sagna, a resident of the Grand Yoff area.

Entire families have been moved to schools, where they are exposed to insects and bugs. To make it worse, this is the time of year when the risk of malaria is at its highest.

The use of schools as temporary shelter also risks disturbing the start of the school year on 3 October.

For years the education minister’s slogan has been “Ubbi Tëy, Jang Tëy” –  “Teaching starts the first day of school”. But that might prove difficult: the homes of the families who have been moved to the schools are still under water – and the rain is still falling.

/Ngoundji Dieng, Dakar

The postcards written by journalists in our network are published on the Blankspot Project website.