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At least 34 dead in floods in Mali capital Bamako

Niger River bursts its banks, leaving thousands homeless in Malian capital Bamako.

Mali flooding kills 34 08 30 2013Enlarge
(AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

The death toll in catastrophic floods which left thousands homeless in the Malian capital Bamako rose to 34 on Friday, one of the leaders of the rescue operation said.

More than 100 homes, mostly poorly constructed mud-brick buildings on drainage sites, were swept away as the Niger river burst its banks in torrential rain on Wednesday, bringing down bridges and submerging entire streets.

"I have been told of 34 dead. Damage to property is widespread and the evaluation is ongoing," said Die Dao, deputy head of the Department of Civil Protection rescue mission, raising the toll from Thursday's estimate of 23.

A government official had on Thursday put the death toll at 23 people.

Flooding often leads to widespread displacements and casualties during west Africa's June to October rainy season, as well as disease outbreaks due partly to poor sanitation.

Local television broadcast images of homeless residents wandering Bamako's streets, apparently in shock, as others waded through chest-high, fast-flowing muddy water to rescue stranded neighbours.