African News

Disagreement over flood management in Senegal

Authorities in Senegal got locked into disagreement over who takes care of flood management in the country. At a meeting which brought together government officials including the country’s Prime Minister, Soulayemane Ndene Ndiaye, as well as the Interior and Local Government Minister and mayors whose municipalities were affected by last rains’ devastating floods, participants wouldn’t agree over whether it is the central government or the local authorities who addresses issues of floods. While the mainly opposition mayors think it is the central government’s responsibility, the latter insists that their responsibility is limited to taking care of waste management. Prime Minister Ndene Ndiaye who blamed local residents for being partially responsible for the cause of the floods, had to put aside the heated debate to allow for continuation of the meeting inter-ministerial meeting which was aimed at discussing shortcomings in the fight against floods and the causes of the effects of the last rains. Because of obstruction of the natural course of the water with the building of houses on the natural path of running water, the Prime Minister said, rainwater was prevented from emptying into the sea. ‘‘Despite the infrastructures built by the government for storm water runoff, flooding continues’’ the Prime Minister told the council meeting. ‘’It is the anarchic occupation of space, with construction on the path of rainwater which is causing flooding.’’ To this end, Senegalese officials warned that State had not yet met the monetary requirement to help relieve the affected populations in the suburbs, many of whom continue to put up with the uneasiness of stagnant rainwater flooding their compounds. Senegal is among countries across West Africa which were worst affected by last season’s rains, which saw many deaths and destructions at an enormous scale. Out of the CFA 2.5 billion francs needed to tackle the effect of the flooding, the government is short of 1.5 billion CFA francs. And accordingly, the total amount will enable the authorities to complete works aimed at working against floods such as retention ponds and drainage of rainwater to the sea. With no sign of that money around, the authorities announced a short term plan that cleaning and sealing of ponds to enable easy flow of the rain water into the sea. The government, according to the Prime Minister, will also release money to finish work on pumping stations established to suck water away from compounds of residents.

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