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SHAKE AND BLOW
Swiss railways and roads blocked after heavy rain
by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) July 13, 2014


Ivory Coast rainy season death toll reaches 39
Abidjan (AFP) July 11, 2014 - Flooding and landslides during the Ivory Coast's rainy season have killed 39 people over the last month, officials said Friday.

The majority died on June 19, when 23 people were killed in overnight landslides in the economic hub Abidjan, but several weeks of torrential rain have continued to cause flooding across the country.

"This toll also includes disasters that have happened in the interior of the country," said Fiacre Kili, who leads the national civil protection office.

Last weekend, five people were killed when flooding hit villages near Grand Lahou, west of the capital, while hundreds of houses were destroyed in the town itself, many of them because of landslides.

Abidjan has seen a number of flooding-related deaths in recent years, with victims tending to live in slums with poor housing and infrastructure, backing onto land which gives way under heavy rains.

In June 2009, 21 people died in the city, while seven lost their lives in 2008 and 11 in 2011.

A month of almost-continuous rain has caused precipitation in the country to rise well above normal levels, although the situation has improved in the last few days.

Heavy rain battering Switzerland triggered landslides and flooding that has halted train and road traffic near the capital Bern, authorities said on Sunday.

A landslide blocked the railway between Bern and the western city of Fribourg while flooding cut the line between Bern and the town of Thun, Swiss Federal Railways said.

Another landslide on the line between Montreux and Zweisimmen, near Bern, also halted rail traffic.

The company said that it had replaced train services in the affected areas with buses to reduce the impact on passengers.

Flooding also forced the closure of several roads in the Bern region, national road company Viasuisse said.

Bern and Fribourg were hit by heavy rain that began early Saturday evening and continued non-stop until midnight.

Fribourg police said that 22 homes had been flooded in their region, as streams overflowed, and that there had been several landslides that blocked roads.

There were no injuries.

A section of the A12 motorway between Fribourg and Bern was closed for six hours due to flooding, as its drains were unable to absorb the heavy rain.

In the small town of Koeniz, on the outskirts of Bern, the local fire service worked throughout the night to deal with flooded streams and landslides, evacuating several homes.

The weekend's heaviest rain fell in Moleson, near Fribourg, where meteorologists recorded a total of 84 litres per square metre.

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