24 die in Morocco underground factory flood

Published February 9, 2021
Emergency services gather at the site of an illegal underground textile workshop that flooded after heavy rainfall in Tangiers on Monday.—AFP
Emergency services gather at the site of an illegal underground textile workshop that flooded after heavy rainfall in Tangiers on Monday.—AFP

RABAT: At least 24 people died after heavy rain flooded an illegal underground textile workshop in a private house in Morocco’s port of Tangiers, the state news agency reported on Monday.

Rescue workers recovered 24 bodies from the property and rescued 10 survivors, who were taken to hospital, the MAP agency said, citing local authorities. A search of the premises was ongoing.

One government official at the scene said 25 people had died, 17 women and eight men, all aged between 20 and 40, according to a local journalist contacted by this news agency.

News footage broadcast from the site on Moroccan television showed emergency services carrying corpses out on stretchers under the eyes of traumatised residents, with a stream of ambulances rushing to the residential district in the northern city.

Workers were saved thanks to a local resident who helped them out of the flooded basement with a rope, according to the journalist contacted by this news agency, who spoke to witnesses.

Local media outlets indicated at least some of the victims may have been electrocuted as the incoming water interfered with power facilities, but this had not been confirmed by officials.

A inquiry has been launched to determine the cause of the accident and those responsible, the MAP agency added.

Morocco’s informal sector plays a key role in the economy, representing around a fifth of GDP outside the primary sector, with textile production making up a tenth of that work.

In terms of textile and leather

production, over half of the work comes from informal operations, including in unregulated factories that fail to meet official safety standards, according to Morocco’s employers’ association.

Morocco has experienced heavy rains in recent weeks, after a long period of drought.

In early January, rain storms caused several dilapidated buildings to collapse in Casablanca, the country’s economic capital, causing at least four deaths, according to local media.

Poorly maintained drainage systems often exacerbate flooding in Morocco’s cities.

Fifty people died in floods in 2014 caused by heavy rains in the south of the kingdom.

In September 2019, 24 passengers on a bus were killed when they were caught in a flash flood on a dry river bed in the southeastern Errachidia region.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2021

Opinion

Kashmir question
06 Mar 2021

Kashmir question

Every single spell of détente evaporates before our very eyes.
Inventing cultural nostalgia
06 Mar 2021

Inventing cultural nostalgia

Glorifying violence & conquest through fictionalised history will have devastating consequences for Pakistan.

Editorial

Vote of confidence
Updated 06 Mar 2021

Vote of confidence

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan’s decision to take a vote of confidence from parliament today is a bizarre move.
06 Mar 2021

PSL disaster

RAPID escalation in the number of coronavirus cases has led to the postponement of the Pakistan Super League’s...
06 Mar 2021

India ranking

WHILE India has often tooted its own horn as the ‘world’s largest democracy’ — being supported in this...
Ravi project
Updated 05 Mar 2021

Ravi project

THE assault by an enraged group of farmers on a provincial revenue team assigned to acquire land for the...
05 Mar 2021

Climate change

PAKISTAN received much less rainfall in January 2021 as compared to previous years, making it the 17th driest month...
05 Mar 2021

Antimicrobial resistance

WITH the focus on Covid-19, many health issues, though otherwise recognised as serious medical problems, tend to be...