Dormant lakes return as floods. Pikine, Dakar, Senegal.
Flooded community. Photographs taken with a kite, Pikine, Dakar. July 19, 2010.

Team: John Scott-Railton (Doctoral Student, UCLA, Urban Planning)
Diaba Ba (Doctoral Student, UCAD, Geomatics)
Affiliated with: Geomatics Education and Research Laboratory (LERG), École Supérieure Polytechnique, Universite Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal.

The flooding follows the depressions that were once lakes. Several decades ago, Senegalese farmers fleeing drought and the collapse of the peanut economy moved to Dakar, seeking work.

I've found that they usually began with a rented apartment somewhere in the city (typically the Medina Quartier). As relatives followed, things got cramped. Families seeking a home moved to land along the narrow neck of the Cap Vert peninsula that connects Dakar to the mainland.

They bought land from local farmers (typically Lebou), and they built.

But the same drought that pushed so many to Dakar had dried out the many lakes that striated the peninsula. The low-lying lake beds were comprehensively settled.

Cut to present. Now the rains have returned to the Sahel. So have the lakes, this time as chronic urban flooding. (for most communities, beginning in 2005).*

You can spot many abandoned homes amongst the reeds. Roofing materials have been salvaged, but the colorfully painted walls remain.

*In Medina Gounass, part of Guédiawaye, floods began earlier, in 1989.
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