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Over 60 Dakar schools still flooded

A woman empties water out of her flooded bedroom and courtyard. Pikine neighbourhood of the Senegalese capital Dakar. August 2009
A woman empties water out of her flooded bedroom and courtyard. Pikine neighbourhood of the Senegalese capital Dakar (Nancy Palus/IRIN)

More than 60 Dakar schools are still flooded, and as the academic year begins in Senegal people displaced during the July-September rains are still sheltering in at least another 18 schools.



Post-flood clean-up operations are under way but some Dakar residents say they are frustrated by what they say is the government’s slow response.



“The state comes and writes a lot of notes, but there is zero action,” said Seynabou Niass, who is living in a flooded two-room house in Darou Rahmane. Most of her belongings have been ruined.



Abdoulaye Faye, president of the flood response committee in the Wakhinane Nimzatt neighbourhood, said he had hoped for more from the government. “The major actions we expected have not happened. This is a catastrophe and people are still in great need.”



Marcel Mendy, spokesperson for Senegal’s Interior Ministry, said that under a US$4.5-million emergency plan the government is working to pump water from flooded zones, rid standing water of mosquito larvae and provide free health services at medical posts set up in affected areas.



Faye said the available pumps were not powerful enough.



However, even the best pumps will not meet all the population’s needs, according to Abdou Diouf, programme manager at ENDA-Graf, an organization working on community development in Dakar’s suburbs. ENDA-Graf conducted a flood impact survey in Thiaroye, a flooded area outside Dakar.



“As an actor on the ground, I can say that we need more than just water pumps. We need humanitarian action,” Diouf told IRIN. He said communities need food aid and assistance in disinfecting their neighbourhoods.



Meanwhile, inhabitants of flooded neighbourhoods are doing what they can to empty the water out of their homes, most of them using buckets.












A pump to clear out flooded streets of the Pikine neighbourhood of the Senegal capital Dakar. August 2009

A pump to clear out flooded streets of the Pikine neighbourhood of the Senegal capital Dakar
Nancy Palus/IRIN
A pump to clear out flooded streets of the Pikine neighbourhood of the Senegal capital Dakar. August 2009
http://www.irinnews.org/photo.aspx
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Over 60 Dakar schools still flooded
A pump to clear out flooded streets of the Pikine neighbourhood of the Senegal capital Dakar. August 2009


Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN
A pump in the Pikine area of Dakar

Hygiene concerns



Hygiene conditions in some areas of Dakar are “worrying”, according to an Oxfam report on flood impacts and response. “In a certain number of houses the level of water is from a few centimetres to over a metre, and pit latrines are sunk and the sewage water is mixed with the flood water.”



To date Dakar has not seen an outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera, but malaria and skin infections are widespread, with some cases of diarrhoea, according to Oxfam, other aid agencies and government health officials.



Aid agencies, with government help, have distributed emergency kits including mosquito nets, blankets and water sterilization tablets. UN agencies have provided medical and other materials and help with logistics and coordination.



Senegal Education Minister Kalidou Diallo told state media that the 68 schools that remain flooded would be cleaned up by end of October.



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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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