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June Rains Kill At Least 16 In Abidjan

Heavy rains in Ivory Coast have killed at least 16 people so far in June in the economic capital Abidjan, including six this weekend, civil protection has said. The latest victims died in Attecoube and Adjame, two poor neighbourhoods in the city, because of a landslide and a collapsing wall, civil protection chief General Fiacre Kili said. At least 10 other people had died earlier in the month due to hte floods.

On Friday, a fire brigade supervisor reported 15 deaths between June 7 and 18. “The dead bodies were found in different districts of Abidjan, in gutters, floating in the lagoon or in water puddles,” the fireman toldA FP. State-run daily Fraternite Matin reported 10 dead in its Friday edition. Most of the victims lived in shantytowns, where shoddily-built houses are ill-equipped to withstand the flooding during the long rainy season from June to August. The rains cause casualties almost every year in Abidjan.

In June 2009, 21 people were killed, while seven died in 2008. In 2011, 11 died, while in 2014, 39 were killed in June and July alone. The government launched an unpopular drive in August 2014 to demolish precarious, overcrowded neighbourhoods in the city, citing health and safety concerns. “It’s not for lack of arrangements. Many places were cleared for the approaching rains. The maximum was done,” government spokesman Bruno Kone said, while blaming the latest deaths on the weather.

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