RABAT (Reuters) - Floods triggered by heavy rain have killed at least 32 people, swept away buildings, vehicles and roads and forced the evacuation of more than 200 people in southern Morocco, authorities said on Monday.
Flooding, which is quite common in the mostly arid desert region at this time of year, has in the past triggered violent protests by local people angered by what they see as a tardy or ineffective official response.
State television channel 2M showed local residents expressing anger after their homes were submerged near the town of Errachidia. The prolonged closure of many national roads could prompt further angry protests, media said.
Morocco's King Mohamed has given orders to the authorities to take "all necessary emergency measures to help and support victims of the floods", a palace statement said.
"We have lost everything, everything. Now our families will sleep in the cold," said a woman in the Errachidia region, where around 60 houses had been destroyed.
"Their (the authorities') previous programs to restore our mud houses did not save us, our houses were just swept away" she told the 2M channel.
Of the 32 confirmed deaths, 24 occurred in the region of Guelmim, a desert town, the interior ministry said, adding that six people were still missing.
The army deployed helicopters to evacuate dozens of people, including some foreigners, in some areas threatened by rising river levels, the official news agency MAP reported.
Local news websites showed floods sweeping away cars, tracks and roads in several regions, including Guelmim and Marrakesh.
(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Gareth Jones)