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Morocco: Heavy rain floods underground clothes factory in Tangier killing at least 24 people

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Emergency services carry a man on a stretcher at the site of illegal underground textile workshop that flooded after heavy rain fall in Morocco's city of Tangiers on February
Emergency services carry a man on a stretcher at the site of illegal underground textile workshop that flooded after heavy rain fall in Morocco's city of Tangiers on February   -   Copyright  AFP
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At least 24 workers have been killed in the city of Moroccan city of Tangier after heavy rains flooded a clandestine garment factory, Morocco’s state news agency MAP reported Monday.

Local authorities said the victims include 17 women and 8 men — all aged between 20 and 40. Ten people were rescued alive.

Search operations were still underway to rescue other workers trapped inside the flooded factory. The total number of workers remains unknown.

Some of the workers were rescued after a local resident threw a rope down to help them escape the flooded basement, a local journalist told AFP news agency.

An investigation has been launched "to elucidate the circumstances" and "determine responsibility" for the tragedy, according to MAP.

Morocco has experienced heavy rains in recent weeks, after a long period of drought.

Bad weather in early January led to the collapse of dilapidated houses in Casablanca, the country's economic capital, leaving at least four people dead and several injured, according to local media.

Floods in Morocco are often linked to flash flooding of dry rivers in the countryside and a lack of drainage systems in cities.

It is "the first risk in terms of people killed at the national level", according to a report on climate risks published in 2016 by the Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (Ires).