Today 21st August 2020 marks 34 years after the Lake Nyos incident in Cameroon’s Menchum division.
About 2,000 people and 3,500 animals were killed by a gas from the lake that spanned 25 kilometers. Government maintains that the lake is still toxic and won’t let villagers return.
What makes their plight even worse is that villagers say living in a camp for decades now, they’ve received no compensation yet.
Voice of America (VOA) quotes Youssouf Mussa, 36, a victim: “I was six years old when this occurred,” he said. “I did my primary school here and there was no secondary school here we had to go to Wum, that is seven kilometers to and from here for five years. At times I did not even have food to eat. I worked very hard and got my advanced level. So many of my school mates dropped out. I was very fortunate
With the situation not getting any better, locals are left at the mercy of poverty and risky lifestyles, fostered by the lack of adequate medical care.
This was made worse in January when soldiers combatting separatist fighters destroyed over 200 houses owned by the Lake Nyos gas disaster victims. For a week, soldiers and suspected government sponsored militias wreaked havoc in Bum Subdivision, the Lake Nyos resettlement area leaving residents on the run.
About ten people are estimated to have died within the week. “Please cry out to the world to hear us. My cousin’s house is destroyed, we are helpless,” a victim cried out to Mimi Mefo Info.
Locals also say they are tired of receiving aid occasionally, especially on the anniversary of the unfortunate incident.
“Teach somebody how to catch a fish and don’t be giving him that fish. The government should give scholarships to students who want to study and tomorrow they will come back and build this village,” camp leader Tcha Ewi tells VOA.
Government says it is degassing the lake, but remains mute over allegations of not compensating victims.
Mimi Mefo Info