By Houda Mzioudet | Nov 15 2012Civil protection , drainage , floods , Greater Tunis , hail storms ,
Four people died and another fourÂ were injured as a result of severe flooding Â on Tuesday night. The areas affected were greaterÂ Tunis as well as the governorates of Zaghouan, Siliana, and Bizerte.
Of the victims, three were electrocuted, and a young woman died as she was carried away by theÂ floods.Â The Tunisian fire fighters service announced the death of the flood’s four victims on Al Wataniya TV yesterday.
The deaths occurred as torrential rains struck northern Tunisia on Tuesday night, continuing until yesterday afternoon.
The floods caused significant, physical damage to infrastructure, disrupted highway traffic, and cut power and water lines. The Greater Tunis light metro service was also interrupted, which created chaos for regular commuters.
The northern Tunis suburbs of La Marsa and Le Kram were inundated. In addition, the Tunis-Carthage International Airport was submerged in rainwater to the point that access to the airport and its parking lot was impossible.
By today at noon, the weather had cleared up.
The National Institute of Meteorology issued a weather alert on its website on Tuesday for a second storm to strike Wednesday and Thursday with intense, thundery showers. Rainfall exceeding 40 mm in the northern and central governorates of the country as well as the eastern coast was recorded. Strong winds of between 60 to 80 km per hour blew near the coasts. Some hail storms were also observed yesterday in the northeastern Cap Bon peninsula.
During a press conference at the Prime Ministry on Tuesday, Mohamed Guesmi, director of the urban waters administration in the Ministry of Equipment and Housing, explained the different measures that the ministry took in preparation for the rainy season.
Looking forward, he stressed the need to carry out maintenance of Tunisia’s rainwater drainage systems, clean sewers, and repair damages caused by torrential rain and stagnant waters.
Najib Ben Cheikha, the ministry’s assistant director, argued on Radio Kalima that the out-of-date rainwater drainage system – non-existent in certain neighborhoods – was the main cause for the floods.
He explained as well that the disposal of construction debris and public waste contributed to blockage in sewers. For Ben Cheikha, the responsibility over rainwater drainage lies on the shoulders of several parties, including municipalities.
For their part, various civil protection units are monitoring the situation in affected areas since Tuesday.