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At Least 23 Dead In Cameroon Landslide

Landslides are frequent during the rainy season in Yaounde, where houses are sometimes built precariously on the city's many hills.


A map of Cameroon, Central Africa

 

A landslide caused by heavy rainfall has killed at least 23 people in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde, firefighters said on Monday, as they searched for more victims.

Landslides are frequent during the rainy season in Yaounde, where houses are sometimes built precariously on the city’s many hills.

The latest incident occurred on Sunday evening in the district of Mbankolo, northwest of Yaounde, which is home to nearly three million people.

Torrential rain caused a dam holding back an artificial lake sitting on higher ground to burst, according to public broadcaster CRTV.

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“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.”

Distressed relatives watched as the bodies of some of the victims covered in sheets were driven away by firefighters, an AFP journalist saw.

A security cordon was in place to keep onlookers and media back from the spot where the landslide happened.

But images broadcast on TV showed an entire section of a hill had collapsed and what remained of houses apparently constructed from wood, dried earth bricks and metal sheeting.

The remains of hillside dwellings that were swept away by the landslide could be seen in the distance, according to 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.

The onslaught of mud destroyed about 30 houses, according to CRTV, which showed images apparently from during the night of torrents of water and mud continuing to flow in places.

In November last year, at least 15 people died when a landslide engulfed members of a funeral party in Yaounde’s working-class district of Damas, on its eastern outskirts.

Forty-three people were killed in the western city of Bafoussam in 2019, when a landslide triggered by heavy rains swept away a dozen flimsy dwellings built on the side of a hill.

AFP