Rising flood waters caused by devastating rains swept across northern Tunisia, killing at least 11 people and leaving six others missing.
Torrential rains fell mainly on the north of the country on Saturday, filling formerly dry river beds known as wadis and causing them to overflow in a very short period of time..
The rains and subsequent flooding blocked traffic on many roads and isolated some towns.
Nine people died after their vehicles were swept away by the swelling flood waters, one person was killed outside Tunis and eight others died in the region of Sabbalat Ben Ammar, some 30 kilometers to the northwest on the road to Bizerte. Search teams discovered another two victims later Sunday, and the search continues.
Over the past few years, we’ve been seeing more and more of these heavy torrential rains that hit the northern parts of Tunisia, and that in a matter of hours cause incredible floods, deaths and many material damages.
I don’t know how much can be done to avoid this in the future, but something has to be done, because things will only be getting worse; due to climate change, the planet is pretty much going mad and spinning out of control, which means that we’ll be seeing more and heavier rains in the future.
It’s obvious our infrastructure wasn’t built with these massive quantities of rain in mind, especially in the older and poorer zones and suburbs, where the damages are greater and more felt by the population. This is due to everything being built in the old days when the weather was stable and the precipitation was moderate.
But now that this problem has become a constant one that we’re seeing every year, it’s clear that a huge scale project has to be launched to find and put in place solutions to this problem before it gets even worse, especially in the areas surrounging river beds that are prone to overflow quickly like Oued Mejerda, Oued Gueriana, …etc.
It’s also obvious a project of this scale is really big for a country like Tunisia, one that I’m not sure we’re entirely capable of taking on on our own both financially and logistically, but it is essential and very important, so the government should maybe pursue aid from the international community to solve this problem.
The amounts of rain we’ve been seeing in these past years also has to be taken into consideration for the new areas being prepared and built, I think it’s inconceivable and unacceptable for newly built neighbourhoods to face these same problems too in the future.
Here’s a photo I found of a drowning bus somewhere near the northern outskirts of the capital Tunis.