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World

AFP
October 30, 2019

At least 30 killed in landslide in west Cameroon

World

AFP
Wed, Oct 30, 2019

DOUALA: More than 30 people were killed after their houses were swept away Tuesday in a landslide caused by torrential rain in the western Cameroon city of Bafoussam, state media reported, showing images of rescuers desperately sifting the rubble for survivors.

"Searches are ongoing. We fear there are further deaths," a senior local official told AFP, on condition of anonymity, as nightfall neared.

The state-run Cameroon Tribune newspaper, on its Facebook page, said "

Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) earlier gave a death toll of around 30 after a score of houses collapsed.

A government statement broadcast on CRTV spoke of a "serious" incident causing "much loss of life" without mentioning a toll.

"The houses that collapsed were built on the side of a hill in a risk zone," said the official of the West Region, of which Bafoussam is the capital, some 300 kilometres (185 miles) northwest of the capital Yaounde.

He said the landslide was caused by the torrential rain that has fallen in the country over the past few days as well as the wider region, with neighbouring Central African Republic and Nigeria also seriously hit.

Pictures of the tragedy at Bafouassam posted to social media showed ramshackle houses having crumbled into the ochre-coloured terrain and men clad in hard hats digging away at piles of mud in the search for survivors.

Landslides are quite exceptional in the area although further south they are less rare in the rainy season, notably in the English-speaking southwest. It was in the southwestern coastal resort town of Limbe that five people died in a landslide following flooding in July last year.

Beyond Cameroon, the Central African Republic, already mired in a brutal civil war, is reeling from ten days of torrential rain which have plunged swathes of the country underwater, creating a new emergency in one of the world´s poorest nations.

Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless after the CAR´s largest river, the Oubangui, burst its banks at the height of the country´s worst floods in decades which have left parts of the capital Bangui submerged, prompting authorities to warn of the risk of cholera.

Several agrarian states in another Cameroon neighbour, Nigeria, have also been hit by flooding. A torrential downpour Monday allowed dozens of inmates to escape from prison in the central state of Kogi.