Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Long Time Victim of Fire Incidents

One of the greatest fire disasters that have ever befallen the economic capital is found in Marché Congo. Today, even the slightest talk about the market hardly escapes memories of the mishaps.

Yesterday's laying of the foundation stone for the construction of an ultramodern market by the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi, revived hopes to many a trader who had their glories lost to the recurrent disaster. Although it is difficult to give an exact damage caused, or losses incurred, many victimised business people have been compelled to turn their backs on the city in favour of their villages. Some of the people who decided otherwise have to negotiate life with very restricted options available.

However, since the market was created in 1976 immeasurable economic and financial losses and material waste have been recorded. Nsangou Mama, president of the market, estimates at least two fire incidents yearly in the market, whereby various information technology tools, textiles, cosmetics are burnt to ashes. There is usually a major and minor fire disaster but can extend to about five in a year destroying either a section of a shed, the whole shed or parts of the market.

Until last year, the disaster of 1980 was the worse. But the recent incident that provoked the construction of the market is rated the most expensive and disastrous incident, economically and financially, to have ever occurred in the market. Most often there are no lives lost except minor human casualties like burns, bruises and trauma.

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