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Tunisia: Severe Flooding Kills 15

Photos show severe flooding in Redeyef

Photos show severe flooding in Redeyef

Flash floods hit Tunisia this week, killing at least 15 people and damaging property in the town of Redeyef in southern Tunisia.  Tunisia Online News recently reported that three cargo planes have been sent to the area to assist residents; Tunisian help has also been sent to Burkina Faso, which is also experiencing severe flooding.

Photos shared on the Asslema Tunisie forum show cars nearly overtaken by floodwaters, while forum commenters lament the situation.  One, Quasimodo, remarks:

Des images terribles
Quand l'eau monte à ce niveau avec des infrastructures comme les nôtres,il faudrait imaginer le pire!!!!
je m'imagine dans ma voiture dans cette situation ,à moitié dans la boue
Et que dire des autres endroits ou régions plus défavorisées?
je trouve que c'est trop désolant

The terrible images
When the water rises to that level with facilities like ours, one should imagine the worst! “
I imagine being in my car in this situation, half in the mud
And what about other places or regions that are more disadvantaged?
I think it's too sad

Bidi’ Niqat, Liba'd El-Horouf (which means “some dots for a few letters”) has started a campaign of solidarity for the victims of the flooding.  On his blog, he presents a badge that users can add to their blogs, declaring:

حدادا على ضحايا الفيضانات التي تشهدها عديد مناطق الجمهورية…

وقفة تضامنية، مع عائلات و اهالي الضحايا… و احتراما لمشاعرهم، تقرر أن يكون يوما الخميس 24 و الجمعة 25 سبتمبر 2009 حدادا على مستوى الفضاءات الإفتراضية التونسية.

To mourn the victims of the floods taking place in many regions of the Republic …To stand in solidarity with the families and the families of the victims…And in respect of their feelings, we declare Thursday 24 and Friday, September 25th, 2009, in their memory in the virtual spaces of Tunisia.

Blogger Carpe Diem, who has added the badge to his own blog, explains the tragedy of Redeyef:

A elle seule, cette ville de quelques milliers d'habitants concentre tous les maux d'un peuple : pauvreté, chômage, pollution, sous-développement économique, manque d'équipements et d'infrastructures, répression policière. Après la terreur d'état qui s'est abattue sur la ville il ya un an, c'est la nature qui s'est déchainé sur ses habitants.  Les inondations ont causé plus de 20 morts et plusieurs blessés, et la ville a été ravagée par les eaux qui ont tout emporté sur leur passage.

For sure, Redeyef has become a martyred city in Tunisia. By itself, this town of several thousand inhabitants has concentrated in it all the evils to befall a people: poverty, unemployment, pollution, economic underdevelopment, lack of equipment and infrastructure, police repression. After the state terror that befell the city a year ago, it is nature that has been unleashed on its people. The floods caused over 20 deaths and several wounded, and the city was ravaged by the waters that took everything in their path.

Some bloggers politicized the catastrophe. Blogger Subjectif wrote :

البارح دعاني ربي قلت نتفرج في اخبار تونس سبعة املا في اني نرى حال ناسنا واخويانا في الرديف, لكن دوويو ما ريت كان حديث على صانع التغيير و الطيارة الي بعثها غادي والناس لمساكن الي يشكرو فيه على هاللفته الكريمه
Last night I made the mistake of watching the National Television channel Tunis7 in the hope to know about the conditions of our people and brothers in “Refdeyef.” But in vain all what I have watched was discourse and stories about the “Change Maker”* and the plane he sent to the region and the poor people thanking him for this generous help.

He added:

وقتاش باش يصبح التونسي مواطن موش رقم ولا ضحية نطلبو منو يصفق للنظام قبل ما نمدولو يد المساعده.انا كي تفرجت في لاخبار متاع تونس سبعة قلت احنا موش عندنا كارثة في الرديف اما عندنا كارثه اخلاقية في تونس سبعه الي اتاجربمصايب الناس و ضعفهم باش تفتك منهم شكرلبن علي ودعم رخيص لحملتو النتخابية
When will the Tunisian citizen be considered not as a number or a victim whom we ask to applaud the system before giving him help. Personally when I watched the National Television channel Tunis 7 I said we do not have a catastrophe in Tunisia but we have a moral catastrophe in our National Television channel Tunis 7 which trades with people's catastrophes and weaknesses to obtain from them a thanking for Ben Ali and a support for his electoral campaign.

*By “Change Maker” the blogger is referring to Tunisian president Zine Al Abedine ben Ali.

Lina Ben Mhenni contributed significantly to this piece.

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