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Life Inside A City That's "Drowning" From Torrential Rains Every Year

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    Photo: Flurina Rothenberger.

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    The aftermath of Senegal's torrential rains is sadly familiar for the millions living in and around the capital of Dakar.

    Streets flood, making traversing Dakar's urban centers near impossible. Houses and business are damaged or destroyed. Vital drinking water sources are contaminated. Dozens die.

    In all, the near annual flooding has impacted an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 people in recent years, according to one dispatch from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    Many factors, including the city's geology, the changing climate, and shortfalls in urban planning, contribute to the devastation that rocks Dakar during the rainy season. But solutions have been hard to come by in the West African country's largest city. And there is little indication that the city will be better prepared for the next round of rain this coming summer.

    "Experts estimate that it will take five if not 10 years until the Senegalese government will be able to handle the flood situation, taking climate change and lacking urbanization plans into account," Flurina Rothenberger, a photographer who has documented the floods, told Refinery29.

    Rothenberger, who was born in Switzerland and raised in the Ivory Coast, spent several years chronicling life in Dakar. She has captured struggles that come with the rains. and the resilience and unity the community shows in the face of an ongoing state of natural disaster.

    The resulting series of photos, Dakar ne dort pas, dakar se noie (translated: Dakar does not sleep, Dakar is drowning), became part of a multimedia collaboration with visual artist Cheikh Diallo and hip-hop artist Goormak.

    For Rothenberger, it's important for the public to see that this is "not a simple story of disaster from Africa." The roots of the problem — and possible improvements — are complex, with regional, cultural, and political considerations.

    "The consequences of climate change, migration into the cities, irregular settlements, and the absence of urban planning is especially disastrous in the suburb," she told Refinery29. "[At the same time,] the city is prime example of change, modernization, and progress."

    Click through for Rothenberger's moving images, her observations from living amid the devastating floods, and her advice for what you can do to help the issue.

    All photo captions, p
    rovided by Rothenberger, were written by Judith Wyder.

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  2. Photo: Flurina Rothenberger.

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  3. Photo: Flurina Rothenberger.

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  4. Photo: Flurina Rothenberger.

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  5. Photo: Flurina Rothenberger.

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  6. Photo: Flurina Rothenberger.

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