Moroccan floods kill 35, cause refinery fire

26 November 2002

At least 35 people have died as a result of severe flooding in central Morocco. Heavy rain has been falling in the region since 17 November but the first casualties came on 25 November, most when the river Bengueribi burst its banks. The country was last hit by flash floods in December 2001, when the Moroccan press criticised the government for having taken insufficient precautions. Interior Minister Mustapha Sahel is visiting the area affected this time to assess the damage.

Flooding was also blamed for a huge fire at Morocco's main petroleum refinery run by Societe Anonyme Marocaine de l'Industrie de Raffinage (Samir). It caused a short circuit. Extensive damage was sustained to the facility, which has a capacity of 6.25 million tonnes a year (t/y) and is due to undergo an upgrade and expansion to raise this to 8.25 million t/y (MEED 25:10:02). Two died in the blaze.

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