23 Dead, Several Missing After Landslide In Cameroon

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The death toll from a landslide triggered by intense rainfall in Cameroon’s capital has rose to 23 on Monday.

The landslide occurred in the Mbankolo neighborhood of Yaounde after three days of heavy rains.

Several people remain missing after the incident on Sunday when a water retention dam that had been built in colonial times broke, District Mayor Yannick Ayissi told journalists.

Mbankolo is located on the outskirts of Yaounde.

“The waters flowing from the mountains swept away the houses built below,” Ayissi said, confirming the deaths of several people, including women and children.

He said authorities could not provide an exact death toll at the moment, however.

According to public broadcaster Cameroon Radio and Television News (CRTV News), a dyke broke and unleashed the mudflow, while rescue efforts are being led by firefighters.

Twenty houses were destroyed, according to CRTV.

In the early hours of Monday, emergency services that were on the ground during the night were still not on the scene, according to reports.

Locals are pulling bodies out from under the debris, according to local media.

“Since our arrival at the site, we haven’t found the fire department. It’s the people themselves who are trying to pull the bodies out of the rubble,” reported local radio station Radio Balafon.

“People there are destroying trees to build houses, and so the buildings are made even more fragile by the regular torrential rains,” a Yaounde resident who spoke on condition of anonymity told Anadolu by phone.

Describing the tragedy “with great sadness,” Celestine Ketcha Courtes, the minister of Housing and Urban Development, said on X that it was a “dramatic situation that has become repetitive” in Cameroon’s cities.

She appealed to the population to strictly respect the planning documents available in the communes and the texts governing urban planning.

To deal with the most urgent situation, the ministry has ordered the identification and relocation of all occupants still living in at-risk areas to avoid further tragedies, as the weather forecast predicts further torrential rains.