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Morocco: Don't Blame the Rain

Recent flooding in Morocco has prompted bloggers to air their discontent with their country's lack of sanitation infrastructure. They went around taking pictures and shooting videos, sharing scenes seldom broadcast by the mainstream media. This is their citizen reporting.

Citoyen Hmida [Fr] describes the scene in Rabat, the capital. He writes:

Des milliers de voitures sont immobilisées sur toutes les artères de la ville depuis les premières heures de la matinée.
[...] Il a suffi de deux heures de pluie, d’une belle averse bien arrosée, pour que Rabat soit totalement immobilisée! [...] A l’intérieur de la ville, des files interminables de véhicules sont bloquées sur les principales artères et sur les grands boulevards!
Des centaines d'élèves n’ont pas pu arriver à leurs établissements : leurs bus sont bloqués dans les embouteillages! [...] Ce que je rapporte là ne concerne que ce que j’ai pu voir ou que j’ai pu recueillir par des témoignanges directs! Que se passe-t-il dans les quartiers populaires? Y a-t-il des dégats plus importants que des embouteillages et des bouchons [...] Qui est le responsable de cette lamentable situation? Va-t-on encore être à la merci de la pluie? Des inondations peuvent se produire, bien sûr, chez nous comme n’importe où dans le monde! Mais cela intervient quand les moyennes de précipitations sont hors-norme! Pas à la première averse de l’année, pas quand les égouts sont bien entretenus, pas quand les équipes d’intervention sont prêtes et bien entrainées, pas quand LES SERVICES MUNICIPAUX FONT CONVENABLEMENT LEUR TRAVAIL!

Two hours of pouring rain and some wet showers were enough for Rabat to come to a complete standstill! [...] Within the city, endless queues of vehicles blocked main roads and boulevards! Hundreds of students were unable to reach their schools: their buses were stuck in traffic! [...] What I'm reporting here concerns only what I could see myself or what I collected from direct eyewitnesses! God only knows what is happening there in the suburbs? Is there more damage than mere congestion and traffic jams? [...] Who is responsible for this deplorable situation? Will we again be under the mercy of the rain?
Flooding can occur here as it could have happened anywhere else in the world! But this normally happens only when rainfall averages are off-standard! Not when it is the first storm of the year, not when drains are well maintained, not when response teams are well trained and ready, not when MUNICIPAL SERVICES DO THEY WORK PROPERLY!

Energumene [Fr] blogging in We Are Watching You shares pictures of the Rabat main train station and comments sarcastically:

Gare Rabat Agdal inondée, ce Matin.
Le nouveau ruisseau au bord des quais de Trains : Une idée ingénieuse pour décontracter les voyageurs.
Vous croyez que c'est la faute aux ingénieurs qui ont foiré leurs plans d'aménagements, ou les sociétés de travaux publics qui s'engraissent à coups de travaux bâclés ?
Détrompez-vous Mesdames, Messieurs, Nos ingénieurs sont très performants : Ces inondations sont préméditées, Ils viennent d'inventer le Train-Glisseur. Un train qui ne marche pas que sur des rails, mais aussi sur l'eau.

Rabat Agdal Train Station flooded this morning.
The new creek along the trains platforms: an ingenious idea to relax the passengers.
You think it's the fault of the engineers who screwed up their work, or maybe you think it is the fault of greedy construction corporations?
Think again Ladies and Gentlemen. Our engineers are very powerful: These floods are premeditated, they've just invented the Slider-Train.

Here are some of the photographs:

Gare Rabat Agdal Creek

Gare Rabat Agdal Creek


Gare Rabat Agdal under water

Gare Rabat Agdal under water

Mohamed El Kortbi, blogging in Partageons nos passions, also shares [Fr] a picture from inside of Agdal train station:

Inside Rabat Agdal

Inside Rabat Agdal

And Ibn Kafka [Fr], shares these pictures taken at the international airport of touristic Marrakesh:

Marrakesh under Water

Marrakesh airport under water

Marrakesh airport under water

Marrakesh airport under water


Marrakesh airport under water

Marrakesh airport under water

Writing in Arabic, Issam [Ar] reports on the flooding of the newly inaugurated tunnel under Boulevard Roudani, one of the most congested arteries of Casablanca, the over 3 million populated economic capital of Morocco. He shares the following video, shot by an amateur at the Roudani Boulevard tunnel and circulated on YouTube:

Issam writes:

قبل بضعة أيام، غرق الممر الأرضي “الجديد” المشيد بالدار البيضاء (الروداني)، بعد أمطار ليلة واحدة فقط. سطروا من فضلكم على كلمة (الجديد) هذه ألف مرة، فالممر قد افتتح مع بداية شهر يونيو الماضي فقط.. وقد فاقت ميزانيته الثلاثين مليون درهما..
A few days ago, the “brand new” tunnel built in Casablanca under Roudani was inundated after one single night rain. Please underline the words “brand new” a thousand times, because it opened only last June with a budget exceeding 30 million dirhams (around 4 million US dollars)…

In some parts of Rabat, concrete collapsed in the streets trapping cars and buses, adding to the general bewilderment, as this video shared [Fr] by Energumene shows:

Inundations have not struck only poor neighbouhoods. In the following video, shared by online news blog Entre nous marocains [Fr], it appears that water flooded affluent parts too:

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