Bridge Crumbles as Deadly Floods Hit Tunisia and Kill Five

By Tom Ozimek

Tunisian authorities said at least five people have been killed in the country following a spate of flash floods caused by heavy rainfall over Oct. 17-18.

The interior ministry’s spokesman Sofian Zaag said two other people are missing, according to the Associated Press.

Floodwaters in the region of Kasserine damaged roads on Oct. 17.

Footage live-streamed from a bridge over the Oued El Hogueff river shows large cracks appearing in the bridge and water surging upwards.

An unidentified man using a cell phone camera to capture video can be seen standing on the bridge as a massive crack appears in front of him.

A man records video on a crumbling bridge
An unidentified man records video as a bridge crumbles over the Oued El Hogueff river in Tunisia on Oct. 17, 2018. (Shehab al-Saadawi via Storyful)

Two people have died as a result of the floods in Kasserine, the governor of the region said in a statement to the Turkish Anadolu Agency.

Roads were closed in the area, local news reported. All Kasserine schools were also closed on Oct. 17, according to local media.

a map of Tunesia and Kasserine region
Floodwaters in the Tunisian region of Kasserine damaged roads and killed two people on Oct. 17, 2018. (Google Maps)

Two people have died in the Kef region in the northwest and another in Grombalia in the north, Zaag told AFP, and a six-year-old child has drowned in Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia.

The regions of Bizerte in the north, and of Nabeul, about 45 miles east of the capital, received up to 8 inches of rainfall.

There are numerous reports that homes, roads, and hydro-electric power facilities along rivers have been severely damaged.

AFP reported that the Tunisian interior ministry urged drivers to take care, as numerous roads across the country are impassable.

Tunisian authorities have reportedly faced criticism in the wake of the floods for failing to maintain drainage systems or clear rubbish from seasonal riverbeds, despite frequent heavy rains in the autumn.

Cars piled up in the street after flood in Tunesia
Cars are piled up in a street after being swept away by torrential rains in the city of Mhamdia near the Tunisian capital Tunis on Oct. 18, 2018. (Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images)

Last month heavy rains hit northeastern Tunisia, killing at least four people and damaging homes, bridges, roads, and fields.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed visited Nabeul on Sept. 23, a day after heavy rain fell on the region.

“It’s urgent to work so things return to normal,” Chahed told reporters, adding that the government would provide financial assistance to people whose homes and fields have been damaged.

Authorities said all the victims had been swept away by fast-moving currents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.