By our Correspondent
Reports reaching us at Arican Future Leadership Magazine (AFLM) indicate that, at least, 15 people died when a landslide engulfed members of a funeral party in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde, the local governor said on Monday.
According to the reports, the victims had gathered in marquees at the top of a hill for a memorial service on Sunday when the ground collapsed.
It was explained that, at least one of the tents and the people beneath it were swept away.
Naseri Paul Bea, governor of the Centre region which includes Yaounde, confirmed that, “We are now at 15 dead,” updating an earlier death toll of 11.
Momentarily, a dozen members of the fire brigade were shovelling away a huge mound of reddish soil at the foot of the hill to search for victims.
But nearby, a stream of people went to two houses to present their condolences to the newly-bereaved families.
And Sunday’s service had been intended as a memorial tribute to five members of a local association who had died this year.
In the interim, the disaster took place in Yaounde’s working-class district of Damas, on its eastern outskirts.
Incidentally, four large white marquees remained on the hill’s summit, at the edge of what seemed to be a ridge, beyond which the ground had opened up.
Meanwhile, the search for victims had been suspended late Sunday evening.
In any case, Marie Claire Mendouga, 50, attended the ceremony but her tent was not affected by the landslide.
As she said, “We had just started to dance when the ground collapsed on Sunday.”
Then she pointed out:
“I went to dig with my hands” to try to extract victims, and was still covered in brown clay.
Generally, landslides occur relatively frequently in Cameroon, but they are rarely as deadly as Sunday’s incident.
In 2019, forty-three people were killed, in the western city of Bafoussam, when a landslide triggered by heavy rains swept away a dozen flimsy dwellings built on the side of a hill.
Hence cases of frequent landslide disasters are common in Cameroon.