In Cameroon, torrential rains kill at least 27 people

2023-10-09 13:23:43

At least 27 people died in the collapse of a section of hill covered with precarious housing, caused by torrential rains on Sunday evening in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. Rescuers are still searching for victims.

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Several days of torrential rain eventually caused a fatal landslide. At least 27 people died in the collapse of a section of hill covered with precarious housing on Sunday October 8 in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon.

Rescuers are still looking for victims on Monday October 9. These landslides during the rainy season frequently occur in Yaoundé, a city of some 3 million inhabitants.

This time, the tragedy occurred early Sunday evening in the Mbankolo district, on the northwest outskirts of Yaoundé. This was caused by the rupture of a dike retaining the waters of an artificial lake located high up, swollen by torrential rains, according to the public television channel CRTV.

A few moments later, the Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, spoke on the spot of a new toll of 27 deaths.

Children among the victims

At the end of the morning, 15 hours after the collapse of the hill, two residents of the neighborhood were crossing a courtyard holding the corners of a large sheet containing two small lifeless bodies, reports an AFP journalist. “Have we found other bodies?” asks one of the countless onlookers. “Don’t you see the two children we just picked up?” says one of the volunteer rescuers, clearly exhausted and annoyed.

Like the two little ones, eight adult remains are loaded onto firefighter pick-up vehicles, in front of a dense crowd of onlookers but also crying relatives. Two crying women collapse and roll on the ground, screaming in pain.

Read alsoCameroon: in Yaoundé, pain and astonishment among residents victims of a landslide

The crowd and journalists are kept away from the precise location of the landslide by a security cordon. But images broadcast on CRTV show an entire section of hill collapsed and what remains, clinging to the slope, of houses obviously built of fragile materials, including wood, dried mud bricks and sheet metal.

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“Every year we have deaths”

According to CRTV, the torrential rains caused a “dam break” in the neighborhood, which “triggered a mudslide” and “around thirty houses were destroyed.” “We noticed that the wall which had been built by the Germans to contain the waters gave way under the pressure. The lake flowed entirely onto the houses built on the side of the hill,” Cyprien Djou told AFP. , an administrative agent from the district town hall, who lives in the neighborhood.

“Immediately, we started looking for the victims, the firefighters found us already on the scene,” he says. “These houses were built in a dangerous area,” lamented Minister Atanga Nji on the spot. “We are going to work to raise awareness so that all these non-buildable areas are vacated. Every year we have deaths.”

On November 27, 2022, at least 15 people were killed in the landslide of a section of hill in the Damascus district, south of Mbankolo. In this working-class neighborhood, torrential rains had caused a vacant lot on the hillside to collapse on which a crowd was attending a funeral tribute.

With AFP

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