September 24, 2013

Nouakchott after the rain

Its been a week since the last rain fell in Nouakchott, the city is in a pitiful state. Many of the city neighbourhoods were built in areas lower than the sea level. The trucks that are going around to drain the water are seeing how the water keeps coming up from the underground.
This amazing set of images seen from the sky, taken by the collective "en haut" using a kite can give you an idea of the disaster.

I decided to go this morning to the 5émé a neighbourhood not far from the center and where there is two markets (5émé et 6émé) where I normally go to buy cloth and spices. I couldn't go further than the first crossroads. The tarmac was covered in mud and water and just a few bits were higher than the water. People were using the donkey carts to reach the market and men were renting plastic boots.

Traffic was not allowed in the tarmac that ld to the market, you either had boots to walk or you would pay for a place in a donkey cart. But the other tarmac covered in water was busy and trucks and four wheel drives were bravely crossing it. As I sat nearby sketching I saw two trucks and a van geting stuch on the big holes in the tarmac hidden from view by the dirty waters.
People I know have had to leave their homes and neighborhoods because of the water. Even the ones that didn't suffer during the rain fall have been forced to leave as the water is now coming from the underground due to a saturted water table.
All kind of theories are going around about what's causing this and of the imminent disparition of the city in the years to come.
The biggest problem at the moment is were are all the people left homeless going to live? No one as answers to that.
What is going to come out of those stagnant waters ? Mosquito's are already breeding by millions and are the big talk of the city. Let's hope it doesn't go further than that....


  1. What a worrying situation Isabel - your sketches describe it so well. I hope things improve for Nouakchott.

  2. So sorry to read of yet another natural disaster. I hope you're keeping safe and dry. Lovely sketches