Two months after a four-storey building collapsed and killed close to 40 people in Douala, another storey building collapsed in the city, but fortunately, no life was lost in the incident.
The three-storey apartment building collapsed in the Nyalla Pariso neighborhood around 10 a.m. on Sunday, September 17.
Witnesses say the building had been leaning on the side before finally crashing down yesterday. Residents had been told to evacuate the facility, a measure that averted casualties.
The Governor of the Littoral Region, Samuel Dieudonné Ivaha Diboua, who visited the accident site, was grateful that no one died or was injured by the collapse.
He also ordered that an investigation be conducted to uncover the cause of the building’s collapse.
A team of rescuers from the firefighters’ department and civil protection agency quickly arrived at the scene and began searching for survivors. But no one was found trapped under the rubble.
“We are happy that no human life was lost. I am also happy that the inhabitants of this building evacuated it when they were asked to after the incident that took place at Mobile Guinness, claiming the lives of more than 41 people,” said Governor Ivaha Diboua.
“We will continue working hard on this to see that buildings that are at risk are destroyed,” he added.
The building collapsed two months after a four-storey apartment building in Douala collapsed onto another one-storey residential building. The accident left 33 people dead and 21 injured.
Many residents of the Nyalla Pariso neighborhood, where the recent building collapsed, have been rejoicing that no human casualties were recorded.
“The building, first of all, was a risky one, and many people knew it. Thank God no one died because the occupants had been asked to evacuate a few months ago,” said Samuel Njock, an inhabitant of the neighborhood.
The Mayor of Douala III, Valentin Epoupa, has called on all owners of risky buildings in his locality to signal them for demolition and has also called on anyone planning to build to ensure they build with quality materials and on safer ground.
“We are asking residents to report any signs of damage to their buildings to the authorities,” said Mayor Epoupa.
“We will also be conducting inspections of buildings to identify any potential hazards and giving those with risky buildings until October 6, 2023, to demolish them,” he added.
The cause of the collapse is still under investigation, but experts believe that it may have been caused by poor construction methods or a lack of maintenance for The collapsed building.
“We are fortunate that no one was killed in this incident. However, we are concerned about the state of many buildings in Douala, and the government needs to take steps to ensure that all buildings are safe for residents,” said an inhabitant of Nyalla Pariso, Jean Jumesi.
This was the most recent of several buildings that have collapsed in Cameroon this year. More than 10 cases have been recorded since the beginning of the year, the deadliest being the one at Mobile Guinness in July, which claimed the lives of about 40 people.
The Government of Cameroon has taken some steps to improve the safety of buildings in recent years, but more needs to be done.