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At least 13 killed, several others missing after landslide hits Abidjan, Ivory Coast

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A landslide triggered by heavy rains left at least 13 people dead, three injured, and several others missing in Anyama near the capital Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Thursday, June 18, 2020.

The tragedy occurred on the northern outskirts of Abidjan, where some areas saw rainfall three times above the usual between June 12 and 15, according to defense minister Hamed Bakayoko. During that period, heavy downpours caused flash flooding that killed one person and left others injured.

The National Office Civil Protection (ONPC) retrieved 13 bodies under the debris. Search and rescue operations are underway to find missing persons that could still be trapped under the mud.

"The provisional death toll is 13 and searches are continuing," said Vincent Oh Bi, Abidjan's Prefect, adding that 20 houses were swept away in the suburb. 

Locals reported that about 10 people were hospitalized and railway tracks were damaged.

Rescue operations and damage assessment are being hampered by severe weather, as well as widespread flooding in the area. Meanwhile, government ministers managed to visit the site on the day of the incident.

Anyama mayor Amidou Sylla told Reuters that the death toll is expected to rise. "The toll could get higher with the ongoing search."

He continued, "We could have at least 20 dead as a result of the landslides because there are still a lot of houses to explore."

"I have lost my three-year-old son and I am looking for his body," resident Aboubacar Dagnon told AFP news agency. He found his wife's home flattened by the mudslide.

Another resident said a portion of a hillock broke away and fell on houses at about 08:00 UTC after a drainage channel collapsed.

Moderate to heavy rainfall is forecast across the region until June 20.

Featured image credit: GSPM Firemen

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