Angola: floods kill 11, cause widespread destruction

Displayed with permission from Al Jazeera

Deadly floods after heavy rainfall in the north of the country have left thousands homeless.

Eleven people have died and several more are missing after torrential rain hit northern parts of Angola between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday.In addition to the fatalities, about 700 homes were destroyed and more than 5,000 properties flooded.

The country’s capital, Luanda, has been badly affected after a month’s worth of rain, 76mm, fell in just over 24 hours.

There was widespread traffic disruption in the city and electricity and drinking water supplies were affected. A church and a school were also destroyed by the floods.

Angola has one rainy season which runs from October to April, corresponding to the time when the sun is at its highest. In Luanda, peak rainfall tends to occur in March and April, with 76 and 117mm respectively.

For a country which lies to close to the equator, these may seem like low accumulations, but weather along the coastal strip is heavily influenced by the Benguela ocean current.

This cold water current runs northwards along Africa’s west coast and is responsible for inhibiting convective clod development along the coasts of both Angola and its southerly neighbour, Namibia.

In common with many other parts of southern Africa, Angola has been in the grip of a drought which has persisted for several years. This partly due to climate change, but population growth and increased agricultural demand for water have also played their part.

The current floods have left much of the farmland in Luanda province under water and communications have been cut off.

It is expected that in the next few days, the bulk of the showers will be over central and southern parts of the country, with Luanda province remaining largely dry.

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ACTUALITÉ AFRICAINE À TOUTE HEURE

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