Thirteen killed in Ivory Coast landslip, others missing

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Abidjan (AFP)

Thirteen people died and several others were missing in a landslide Thursday which flattened homes and damaged rail tracks in a suburb of Ivory Coast's main city Abidjan after torrential rains.

Landslides and floods are common in Abidjan, the economic capital of the world's top cocoa producer, during the rainy season, wreaking havoc on shantytowns built into eroding hillsides in the undulating seaside city.

"The provisional death toll is 13 and searches are continuing," Abidjan's prefect Vincent Toh Bi said, adding that "20 houses were swept away" in the teeming suburb of Anyama, north of the coastal city.

About 10 people were hospitalised, locals said.

"I have lost my three-year-old son and I am looking for his body," Aboubacar Dagnon said, after his wife's home was flattened.

Another resident said a part of a hillock broke away and cascaded down onto homes at around 8:00 am after a drainage channel collapsed.

The rainy season in Abidjan began in May and normally lasts till the end of July.

On Thursday afternoon, hundreds of locals were sifting through the mud to look for survivors, or looking for kitchen utensils and clothes, AFP journalists said.

Abidjan's prefect said heavy rains had already claimed one life during the weekend.

Eighteen people died in Abidjan during flooding in June 2018.

The city is home to some five million people, many of whom live in precarious shantytowns in flood-prone or dangerous zones