Yaoundé (Fides News Agency ) - "We decided to come here to comfort these people and let them know that together we are in the same situation. We will give them more help, spiritually and socially. We will come back to listen, pray and help in any way we can to overcome the situation," stressed the Archbishop of Yaoundé, Jean Mbarga, at a funeral service for the victims of the landslide that occurred on Sunday, October 8, in Mbankolo, in the Yaoundé 2 district, northwest of the capital of Cameroon. The landslide, caused by a tidal wave following the collapse of a dam, killed at least 28 people and injured many.
"We also came with the desire to understand the causes of the disaster, so that the Church can participate in solving the problems that have arisen, and to see how we can better support, on a religious and spiritual level, the population in its grief," the archbishop continued.
A tidal wave washed away a large part of the hill on which the affected neighborhood is located, destroying homes and burying the area under rubble and mud. Similar landslides often occur during the rainy season in Yaoundé, a city of about three million people, where unsafe houses are often built on the slopes. Cameroonian authorities already have demolished homes in vulnerable areas prone to flooding and landslides. Many of the buildings that collapsed on October 8 were slated for demolition.
The disaster was caused by the collapse of a dam that gave way around 4 p.m. Sunday, releasing water from a small lake along the steep hillside in Mbankolo district.
The deluge swept away a major portion of the hill on which the municipal district is located, destroying houses and burying the area under debris and mud.
Similar landslides occur frequently during the rainy season in Yaoundé, a city of about 3 million people dotted with hillsides on which often precarious housing is built.
Cameroonian authorities have demolished houses in high-risk areas susceptible to flooding and landslides. Many of the buildings that collapsed on Oct. 8 were slated for demolition.
On November 27, 2022, at least 15 people died in the landslide of a stretch of hillside in Damas district, south of Mbankolo. In this working-class district, torrential rains had collapsed an abandoned hillside plot on which a crowd was attending a funeral. (LM) (Fides News Agency 12/10/2023)