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Ivory Coast bishops link flood damage with corruption, underdevelopment

Catholic bishops in Ivory Coast have blamed corruption and urban development for flash floods that destroyed shops and homes and left 20 people dead in the West African country’s largest city.

“In a city as sprawling as Abidjan, witnessing rapid development and galloping urbanisation, there are obvious risks of anarchic settlements which violate safety rules and natural topography,” the bishops’ conference said in a statement.

“But there has also been speculation around land expropriations very close to the danger zones. So we appeal for a serious accounting of conscience and for civic responsibility and engagement by everyone.”

The statement was published as bulldozers cleared properties damaged in the 18th to 19th June floods, which raged to up eight feet through parts of the coastal city.

It said the Catholic Church acknowledged the inundations were a “natural disaster” and was grateful to government leaders who worked to help save victims in the French-speaking country, where numerous families had lost homes and deserved “communal solidarity.”

Picture: People look at a car in a sewer after a flood in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on 19th June. Catholic bishops have blamed corruption and urban development for the fatal flash floods. (CNS photo/Luc Gnago, Reuters).