16 August 2012

Cameroon: Natural Disasters - Landslide in Akwaya, no Death

The Governor of the South West Region, Bernard Okalia Bilai last Monday August 13, convened a crisis meeting in his office premises, following a landslide that occurred in Kakpenyi quarter of Tinta village, Akwaya Subdivision. The major resolution of the impromptu meeting was the expression of government's determination to assist the victims. As such, measures are underway to provide the local population with food and other basic necessities, especially those injured as a result of the disaster.

Talking to the Divisional Officer of Akwaya, Austin Ayuni Sakah in Buea CT gathered the following. He explained that the quarter head of Kakpenyi in Tinta village sent an envoy to Akwaya Town on Thursday August 2. According to the informant, on Sunday July 29, the villagers heard unusual sounds like gun shots, accompanied by earth tremors. The situation continued till Wednesday August 1 afternoon, when they heard loud explosions from a nearby mountain followed by a heavy flow of rocks and soil down the slopes of the mountain. The descending rubble destroyed everything on its path, burying farms and trees, before ending up in a valley where two rivers (Ohongimbi and Kakpenyi) meet. The debris equally blocked the regular water flow of the two rivers and developing in a lake. The main road from Mamfe to Akwaya through Kakpenyi was completely cut off. Some villagers working on their farms were wounded but no human loss has been registered.

The Divisional Officer and his close collaborators visited the site the next day, Friday August 3. They identified 21 persons whose farms were destroyed as well as 23 injured persons needing medical attention. It was also revealed that the explosions were frequent and mostly provoked by rainfall leading to heavy landslides.

At press time, the Director of Civil Protection in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Jean Pierre Nana led a technical team to the site on Saturday August 11. An evaluation of the scene revealed it was a landslide and not an eruption as believed by many. Jean Pierre Nana equally offered financial assistance to the farmers who had lost their farms; and a medical team was stationed in Kakpenyi for at least three weeks to attend to the patients, while measures are underway to ensure the population's safety from subsequent crises. Meanwhile the population has been urged to remain vigilant and avoid treading on the affected areas, till further notice.

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