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Flood damage on colonial infrastructure

Flood damage on colonial infrastructure

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8 November 2016

The Saguia El Hamra river had not been spilled over since 1987. The heavy rains in Western Sahara between 28 and 31 October 2016 led to the flood of the river and have multiple consequences.The effects have been aggravated by the lack of respect of the natural environment in the infrastructure built by the Moroccan colonizer.Due to the non decontamination of the territory from the explosive remnants of war and landmines, it’s very probable that many of these deadly weapons are now in the “big” cities.The landmines and other explosive remnants of war are located mostly East of El Aaiún, near the Moroccan defensive wall. Due to this heavy rain, the bed of the river was very broad and the water took everything.The bed of Saguia El Hamra river passes through the place called Gouairet Lhoussein near the commune of Sid Ahmed El Aaroussi, 25 km South of occupied city of Essmara.Witnesses told “Equipe Media” they saw many remnants of war there, where water had withdrawn.If there were no maps showing the location of mines, the Saguia El Hamra river has changed all data. The very real threats on the lives of the riparian inhabitants have pushed the Red Crescent branch in occupied Essmara to launch an urgent appeal to the population to be prudent in front of any unidentified object, in Essmara and its suburbs. The appeal was relayed by the Moroccan websites in occupied zones of Western Sahara.At the entrance of El Aaiún, the flood of Saguia El Hamra river resulted the collapse of the "green march dam”, built in 1995. This dam built of sand and stones had a bridge in which passed all the traffic towards the North of Western Sahara but also to Morocco.According to Moroccan media, the bridge absorption capacity is 110 million cubic meter, the status of the construction is not involved in its destruction but rather the importance of water bodies.According to Bridges and roads Specialist the construction of this bridge was weakened by its use and lack of maintenance, the design being more quite questionable.According to old Sahrawi, the construction served colonization and the plundering of the Western Sahara natural resources without any respect of nature and the wilderness. The natural cycles of the river, seasonal fertilization of the river banks and irrigation were made impossible by the effect of the dam that had caused major changes in the local ecosystem,
The Bridge of Saguia El Hamra located North of the city of El Aaiún, built by the Spanish colonizers in 1965, did not withstand the flood of the river and collapsed. In other part and during three days the city has been in a complete absence of the electrical power supply and communication.Wherever the river has passed, houses have collapsed while others have been weakened by water infiltrations.Douar El Mkhaznia neighbourhood was particularly affected by the flood, where hundreds of settler families and auxiliary forces agents live.Neighbourhoods of Soug Jaj and Brarkik Ettben "straw huts" where majority of people are Sahrawi have suffered extensive damage.According to several sources, it appears that the Moroccan authorities’ treatment with victims was discriminatory. It have not supported in the urgency except the Moroccan settlers, leaving the Sahrawi to find by themselves a new shelter.Although there has been no official warning, it is very likely that landmines and other remnants of war will be now in the city of El Aaiún, carried by the river and deposited on the banks and in the flooded streets.The national road between El Aaiún and Tan Tan is cut since October 29 as well as the road along the seaside between Tarfaya and El Aaiún.Currently the only possible way to access El Aaiún is by Essmara because the road between Tan Tan and Essmara has not been cut yet.According to several reports the axis Essmara-El Aaiún has nevertheless been closed for three hours on 3 November, following the explosion of a vehicle that would have stepped on a mine.The collapse of the bridges has led to the isolation of the city and the impossibility of any supply. El Aaiún is a city where the price of goods is artificially inflated by Moroccan settlers.Many witnesses have reported a rapid and high increase in the price of commodities, particularly after the obligation of settlement made to Sahrawi without any productivity or autonomy- indeed strengthened since the ban on planting and live underneath tents.According to a provisional report, thirty people, between civilian and military have been killed. It is said that some of the Moroccan soldiers who have found death are agents of surveillance of illegal immigration hired by Morocco with funding from the European Union as agreement on this issue.The use of European funds as consequence of an agreement with Morocco that includes Western Sahara territory is ilegal, maybe this is why the Moroccan media is silent about the numbers of victims.The technology park project Foum el Oued, promised to build an ambitious educational hub and inaugurated with great fanfare in February 2016 by the King of Morocco, which is scheduled to open in 2022 could fall into the water, where there was nothing yet, there is now an impressive lake.

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