Since the onset of the rain seasons, several regions in Senegal, especially Dakar neighborhoods, have experienced floods caused by strong rains which have caused massive destruction of properties and loss of lives in some towns.
Grand Yoff commune in Dakar has been one of the most affected zones.
“The problem of Grand Yoff is that there is too much water that is diverted to the commune because it is a low-land,” the commune’s Mayor Madiop Diop said.
“We had laid down pipes to redirect rain waters, but we have challenges of laying down pipes to evacuate water from flooded houses,” he explained, adding that “pipes put up by Senegal’s National Sanitation Office were very small and close to each other due to high population in the area.”
He recommended the putting up of wider canals to effectively redirect rain waters.
“There was a catchment zone that had been established to hold rain waters but it was transformed into a habitation zone,” he said.
Architect Mamadou Berth said “there was hardly any place for the smooth passage of rain water in Senegal, especially in the capital.”
He said solutions that had always been offered against floods in Senegal have always been short term.
“Setting up water holding zones is not a structural solution,” he said, adding that such zones end up becoming artificial lakes since rainy seasons last long.
Berth lamented about unplanned construction in most parts of the capital, citing the example of the zone around Dakar International Airport where new buildings have blocked the movement of rain water.
Reacting to a number of complaints by the population denouncing the poor drainage system, head of the national drainage office Abidine Diakhate defended his office, noting that “his officers were working although water drainage was taking a longer time.”
He said the slow pace of water removal was caused by large volumes of stagnant water.
“The long term solution is to increase the capacity of the drainage pipes,” Diakhate said, adding that the government had already started the expansion of Grand Yoff pumping station. Enditem