November 30, 2010 / 1:37 PM / in 8 years

Heavy rain and floods kill 22 in Morocco

RABAT (Reuters) - At least 22 people died in Morocco after heavy rain and floods that also forced flight delays and hit communication systems at some banks, official and business sources said on Tuesday.

Mohamed Zaidi, lawmaker from the Atlantic Coast town of Bouznika city south of the capital Rabat, said 18 people died on Tuesday when a bus carrying them veered off the road and plunged into a flooding river near Bouznika.

“One member of the civil rescue is still missing,” Zaidi told Reuters.

The official MAP news agency confirmed the toll.

Three people from the same family died late on Monday after heavy rainfalls brought down their home near the central city of Khenifra, MAP said.

In the north, one man died from drowning and seven other people were swept away by a river in flood, it said.

In Casablanca, schools were ordered to shut on Tuesday after Morocco’s biggest city and business centre received a record 7 inches of rain overnight.

Flag carrier Royal Air Maroc said the heavy rain disturbed flights departing from the country’s main airport in Casablanca after heavy rain flooded highways and rail tracks.

In the capital Rabat, people formed long queues in front of an operational ATM machine of BMCI BANK after communication systems of some banks were affected by the rain.

“The lines are down because of the rain. We can’t process any operation for the moment,” said an employee at a branch of Attijariwafa Bank in downtown Rabat.

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