At least 27 people were killed and more than 50 were injured in floods set off by heavy rains in Cameroon’s capital, authorities said Monday as rescuers intensified the search for those missing following the deluge the previous day.
The rains unleashed floodwaters in the district of Yaounde 2 of the country’s capital on Sunday, sweeping away buildings and reducing many to rubble.
Rescue workers are still digging through the mud and rubble “with the hope of saving lives,” Daouda Ousmanou, the top government official in the district, said Monday.
Cameroon Territorial Administration Minister Paul Atanga Ngi, who visited the site, announced the death toll has reached 27 and that all the injured would be treated for free. “I have come to extend the condolences of Cameroon president Paul Biya to the bereaved families,” he said.
Flooding has been frequent in Cameroon in recent years, with experts often blaming climate change, and its impact has been exacerbated by shoddy construction that often circumvents regulations.
BUILDING COLLAPSE IN CAMEROON’S LARGEST CITY CLAIMS OVER 30 LIVES, RESCUE OPERATIONS CONTINUE
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The latest floods were worsened after a dike in a manmade lake gave way, sweeping structures down the hill, the government said.
In the city’s Mbankolo neighborhood, at least 30 houses were swept away while several collapsed on residents inside, Ousmanou said. Other people drowned as they were swept away by floodwaters.
Ernest Zebaze, a 24-year-old university student, said he identified the bodies of his mother and two siblings. “I am still looking for my father who was in the house during the downpour,” Zebaze said.
Bodies of the victims have been laid out at a morgue, while the injured were rushed to hospitals. The Yaounde General Hospital said it received 12 injured, including a 7-year-old girl.
Authorities in Cameroon have been demolishing houses in high-risk zones susceptible to floods and landslides. Many of the buildings that collapsed on Sunday had been marked for demolition.
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