A landslide that occurred last night in the Mbankolo neighborhood of Yaounde has left at least 30 people dead. Several people are still missing.
Authorities say the casualties may increase as search teams continue scouting through the sea of mud and smashing houses in search of victims.
Among the deceased are women and children. This morning, search teams flooded the area, including the firefighter brigade and the gendarmerie.
Nothing but rubble and mud filled the site. Several homes have been flattened, and the death toll is deemed to be increasing.
“I lost my children,” recounts a woman in tears who came out of the rubble.
The Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, and his counterpart for Housing and the Minister of Urban Development Célestine Ketcha Courtes, also arrived at the landslide scene at Oliga, in Mbankolo, Yaounde, this morning.
The disaster occurred around 7 pm on Sunday following a downpour that caused the collapse of a water embarkment in the neighborhood.
A resident told MMI the landslide was caused by the collapse of an embankment built decades ago around an old lake in the area.
“There was a lake. A very old lake. There was a gentleman who blocked this lake. Because this lake passed his house. He prevented the lake from continuing to free itself. During the rain today it was let go. It cracked. We just followed a noise. And then it devastated at least two hundred houses,” the Mbankolo resident said.
More than thirty houses have been destroyed alongside farmlands, with several animals killed.
The incident has raised questions about construction in risky zones, an issue that has previously been raised in Yaoundé.
Municipal authorities had warned residents against building in risky areas, but little action was taken to prevent them from doing so.
The casualties recorded in the Mbankolo landslide, residents say, may have been smaller if people had not constructed on the bed of the lake’s drainage course.