Heavy rainfall in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital, triggered a landslide that claimed the lives of at least 23 individuals, according to firefighters who are currently conducting search and rescue operations.
Landslides are a common occurrence during the rainy season in Yaounde, where some houses are constructed precariously on the city’s numerous hills.
The most recent incident took place on Sunday evening in the Mbankolo district, located northwest of Yaounde and housing nearly three million people. The deluge of rain resulted in the breach of a dam that was holding back an artificial lake on higher ground, as reported by the public broadcaster CRTV.
“Yesterday we pulled out 15 people who had died and this morning we have found eight,” the fire service’s second in command David Petatoa Poufong told reporters at the site.
“We are still looking.”
Concerned family members observed as firefighters transported the bodies of certain victims, who were concealed beneath sheets, away from the scene, as witnessed by an AFP journalist. A security perimeter was established to restrict both onlookers and media from approaching the landslide site. However, television broadcasts displayed a complete section of a hill that had crumbled, revealing the remnants of houses seemingly crafted from materials such as wood, dried earth bricks, and metal sheeting. In the distance, the remnants of hillside residences that were engulfed by the landslide were visible, according to the observations of the AFP journalist.
“There was a landslide after heavy rain. The water swept away everything in its path,” Daouda Ousmanou, a local administrative official announced on public radio.
CRTV reported that approximately 30 houses were obliterated by the mudslide. They also displayed images that seemed to depict the relentless flow of water and mud, particularly during the nighttime hours.
In November of the previous year, a tragic incident resulted in the loss of at least 15 lives when a landslide struck during a funeral gathering in the working-class Damas district on the eastern outskirts of Yaounde.
Additionally, in 2019, the western city of Bafoussam witnessed a devastating landslide, caused by heavy rains, which claimed the lives of 43 individuals. The landslide swept away a dozen fragile dwellings situated on the hillside.
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