News

In Dakar, Flood Victims Move to Dry Ground

Multimedia

For the past two weeks, torrential downpours across West Africa have caused widespread flooding, especially in cities. In Senegal's capital, Dakar, flooding is an annual occurence in the city's crowded suburbs where unplanned settlements block water run-off.

After weeks of rainfall, many streets in Dakar's suburbs are not passable.  Roads have become rivers and entire neighborhoods are cut off from transport.

In the Medina Gounass neighborhood, a deep pool of water sits where a neighborhood once stood.

The Sarr family moved here 40 years ago. Demba Sarr lives here with 17 other family members. "For 10 years we have been living in terrible conditions," Sarr says, "living under water. It was really awful."

When the home was built, the area was dry. Now every time it rains, the house sits in a foot of water.

So family members are packing up and moving to dry land. They have been allocated a new house in the cite Jaxaay, a government-built city 25 kilometers east of Dakar.

Neat rows of two-bedroom houses accommodate almost 2,000 families relocated because of the floods. The air is clean and children play in the wide streets. There is electricity in most homes. Running water and sanitation are in place.

Cheikh Mbow is a researcher at Dakar University's Institute for Environmental Sciences. He studies urban flooding.

"There is some space a little bit out of Dakar where we can develop small cities to relocate people," Mbow explains.  "But at the same time you need to put education there, you need to put health care there, you need to develop roads for people to have access to their jobs."


The task is enormous, and progress is slow. Four years after beginning the new cite, just half the planned houses are built while hundreds of thousands of people remain in flood zones.

"We should be thinking in the long term," Mbow adds.  "We should take it piece by piece and invest in very important relocation areas. It is costly but that is the price to pay to solve this problem."

As they see their new house for the first time, the Sarrs are overjoyed. Though there are only two bedrooms for 18 family members, the relief at living on dry land is palpable.

Demba Sarr's sister is pleased she says, "It's pretty and nice. The house is wonderful!"

Storm clouds rumble in the distance, but Demba Sarr smiles. He says he no longer worries about the rain.

But for hundreds of thousands still living in floodwaters, like this woman, every new rain is another disaster.
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs