Heavy rains accompanied by powerful storm are said to have left dozens of families homeless in Babessi. Babessi is one of the four villages that make up the Babessi Subdivision and it is one of three subdivisions of Ngoketunjia Division of the North West Region of Cameroon with a population of 26,802.
The ugly floods on August 5, 2019 destroyed some 60 houses and rendered 48 families homeless. They are now grappling with hygiene and sanitation problems.
Videos and photos shared on social media showed ferocious waves of water rolling onto the village, submerging Chui, Mbow, Mbezoh and Abakwa quarters leaving scores of people mostly women and children wading through water at knee-level. They had to run helter-skelter for their for their lives.
At press time, the water has receded and people are counting their loses.
No official account of lives lost and property damaged has been discosed.
On the part of the community, Babessi Top Elites under the umbrella of Wushicho Cultural and Development Association (WUCUDA) is still to set a committee to evaluate the human and material damage caused by the floods.
According to the Fon of Babessi, Fon Oliver Tsodonebioh 111, the floods were caused bythe blockage of some drainages.
The floods washed away some 160 hectares of tilled land for the cultivation of (rice,plantains,cocyams and beans).
Experts say water from Banendjin dam has caused the water table in many areas of Ndop plain to rise, reducing farmlands and putting pressure on fertile land. This has deprived the predominantly farming population of Babessi from their livelihood.
“The people are in constant battle with malaria and typhoid . The rising water table is a conducive breeding ground for mosquitoes “
Mr Ntobua Thadeus Nyifeh, a senior in Babessi told this reporter.
The government of Cameroon notwithstanding, brought in relief in October 2012 after recurrent floods brought sixty to rubble and left atleast 95 families displaced. Jules Doret Ndongo , former Minister delegate to the Territorial Administration Ministry in charge of decentralised territorial authorities visited the flood-stricken community with relief aid worth FCFA20 millions and FCFA80millions cash to enable the victims start a new life .
The FCFA80 millions however, soon became a taboo as a similar calamity repeated itself in 2015 in Babessi and neighbouring Baba I villages, rendering some over 26 families homeless.
After the 2015 incident, a comprehensive impact assessment was conducted so victims can be supported to quickly recover from the economic and social impacts of the Babessi floods.
It remains unclear if community based disaster prevention and management mechanisms were also put in place to avert another reoccurrence.
The Babessi community and economic activities are crippling due to the Anglophone crisis which is now in its third year.
By Momoh Dero in Babessi
Mimi Mefo Info