Cameroon building collapse death toll rises to 33

Residents of the district in Douala fear that the toll will increase. The day after the collapse of a residential building in the economic capital of Cameroon, it amounted to at least 33 dead and five injured in absolute emergency. During the night from Saturday to Sunday, around 1:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. French time), a four-storey building located in the north of Douala collapsed on another one-storey residential building.

This collapse is one of the most serious in the country’s history. Rescue operations, including clearing rubble using a mechanical shovel in the hope of finding survivors, began on Sunday and continued in the evening and Monday morning, according to a local resident contacted by AFP.

Many injured

“The situation is under control and the firefighters are working to ensure that no one remains under the rubble,” said Samuel Dieudonné Ivaha Diboua, the governor of the Littoral, who visited the site on Sunday. The same day, the Laquintinie hospital in Douala had indicated that it had taken care of “thirteen cases from this tragedy”, and recorded two deaths, including that of a three-year-old girl and a 19-year-old girl.

The eleven other people admitted were three children cared for in the pediatric emergency room, two teenagers, a 28-year-old young woman, and five men, the hospital said. A resident of the neighborhood for fifteen years, a ten-minute walk from the building that collapsed, Prosper Tchinda was one of the first people on the spot after the accident. “There was a survivor who came out with a few scratches, we also found a baby safe and sound,” he told AFP by telephone.

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A “party” on the night of the facts

“The balance sheet could still climb”, fears the 42-year-old computer scientist, who assures that a “festive event with music was taking place at the time of the facts”, and that the building was in poor condition.

This building “looked failing, there were cracks in the wall and it looked like it could collapse at any moment. It’s really not the type of building that made you want to settle there, “said Nathalie, another resident who went there immediately after hearing a” loud noise “. This witness, who asked to remain anonymous, also claimed that a “party” was held in the building on the night of the incident.

Buildings that “do not meet the standards”

” I am very worried. There are so many buildings that don’t meet the standards. Everyone gets up and builds haphazardly without any control. We have the impression that the competent services of the town hall are not doing their job, ”said Prosper Tchinda.

In 2016, the collapse of a residential building killed five people in Douala, and authorities raised the issue of compliance with building standards. In June of the same year, they had identified 500 buildings “threatening ruin” in the city.

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