Morocco flood kills seven at football match: Officials

In a photo from Aug 6, 2019, a Vietnamese policeman approaches anti-China protesters as they hold placards during a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.
In a photo from Aug 6, 2019, a Vietnamese policeman approaches anti-China protesters as they hold placards during a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.PHOTO: REUTERS

RABAT (AFP) - At least seven people were killed on Wednesday (Aug 28) when a river burst its banks and flooded a village football pitch where a game was being played in south Morocco, local authorities said.

The victims included a 17-year-old boy and six elderly men attending the match in the village of Tizert, in Taroudant region.

Searchers had rescued one man who was injured by the flood and were looking for another missing person, officials said.

The river overflowed and submerged the pitch where an amateur football tournament was underway, a resident told AFP.

Eight men who took refuge in the changing rooms were swept away by the floodwaters, the witness said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We're in shock. I'm 64 years old and I've never seen such a downpour," the witness said.

Photographs and videos shared on social media showed muddy waters carrying away people who had clambered on top of a building flattened by the flooding.

Morocco's national weather service had warned of the risk of stormy rains on Wednesday afternoon in several provinces.

The heavy downpour followed a dry spell, making the floods more violent, local media reported.

Floods are common in Morocco. In late July, 15 people died in a landslide caused by flash floods on a road south of Marrakesh.

In 2014, floods killed around 50 people and caused considerable damage in the south of the country.

A study published in 2015 pointed to multiple failures in infrastructure maintenance, prevention, warning and emergency management.