Environment & Climate ChangeNews

Floods Hit Cameroon As Over 6,000 Displaced In Far North Region Alone

Very heavy torrential rains have within the past few days hit almost all the 10 regions of Cameroon leaving over six thousand persons in the Far North Region homeless.

The rains also caused damage estimated at millions of US dollars in the Littoral and Southwest Regions.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Bureau for West and Central Africa estimates that rainfall between August 11 and 17, 2020 afflicted 5,553 persons in the Mayo-Danay Division alone of the Far North Region.

The Cameroon Red Cross Society estimates that among those seriously affected, 1,260 are children under the age of five years while 407 are people with some sort of vulnerability.

Many have been left without housing while others have lost their cattle and seen their harvest swept away by water.

“The Cameroon Red Cross Society has furnished empty bags that would be filled with sand to construct barriers with a view to preventing further damage but the available assistance is not enough because of the absence of humanitarian organisations in the division”, the UN Humanitarian body revealed.

It is to be recalled that in 2019, floods caused the displacement of over 45,000 persons in the same area.

Meanwhile, in Douala in the Littoral Region and Limbe in the Southwest Region, thousands of inhabitants woke up on August 20, 2020 night to discover that they were either sleeping in partially swallowed beds or found their belongings floating in water.

Most hard hit neighbourhoods in the economic capital Douala include Makepe Missoke, Bepanda, Mabanda, Bonapriso, Denver, Makepe Orly and Akwa.

Several roads in Cameroon’s most populated city of about three million have been swallowed by water and access to the former Directorate General of Customs, Bankouamouang, Salle des Fetes Akwa, Nouvelle Route Bonabassem has become impossible.

Damage in the economic capital is estimated at billions of FCFA and unanimous predictions are that more damage would be caused as the rains continue to pour down unstoppably.

Meanwhile in Limbe, fondly called the Opec City of Cameroon because it hosts the nation’s lone oil refinery, life has almost come to a standstill in Down Beach which is the commercial centre as well as the seat of government offices.

“Roads have been flooded and in some areas, people are being forced to use canoes instead of motor vehicles to ply the roads. I saw one man paddling himself, his wife and baby in what used to be a cooler heading towards the market as today is a market day”, Yonda Gilbert, a boutique owner in Sappa Road told HumAngle.

“We did not know these types of floods when former Mayors always ensured that before the beginning of the heavy rains, the Limbe River and Jengele Water were cleared of encumbrances and thoroughly drained. 

“These years, no such work is done and to add to the injury, people are authorized to build on river beds thus blocking the free flow of water, which normally finds its way into the roads and quarters resulting in the heavy damage you are seeing here now”, revealed a senior official of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party which once controlled the Limbe Urban Council.

The National Observatory for Climate Change predicts a “high risk of floods throughout the national territory.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Decentralisation and Local Development, Georges Elanga Obam has instructed the mayors of the 360 councils nationwide to organise clean-up campaigns in their areas of jurisdiction. 

He has called on the municipal leaders to ensure that drainage gutters are dug in the urban centres to disperse water and avoid further floods.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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