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Torrential rain and snow have killed 40 this year; Severe rain in Morocco kills 24, forces evacuation

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  Article Date:
February 09
, 2009



Heavy rains in Morocco have claimed 24 lives and forced 2,000 people to be evacuated over the past week, interior ministry officials said Saturday.

The victims, across northern and central Morocco, died as rivers rose or houses were swept away in landslides, causing over 2,000 homes to be lost.

The devastation was worst in rural areas, where homes, schools and community centers were destroyed by heavy flooding and snowfall that has left at least 40 dead this year.

According to the authorities in Rabat, 2,252 houses have been lost and another 328 damaged, with 80,000 hectares (300 square miles) of agricultural land submerged.

Hundreds among those evacuated are in temporary shelter, said officials who are distributing food aid along with bedding and medicine.

Rabat announced at a cabinet meeting Thursday it had set up shelters and installed electric generators and would provide logistical support aimed at providing emergency medical services.

"As part of a plan to ward off any future problems, the public authorities have set up monitoring committees at the central, regional and local levels," Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa said Thursday.

Morocco's weather forecasters have warned that the rains -- unusually heavy going back to September -- are set to continue through Sunday.

Source: RBAT (AFP, AlArabiya.net)