Floodings and landslides have been a constant nightmare to denizens in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon for about three decades now.
The torrential rains witnessed during the rainy season have resulted in many death and the destruction of properties.
Part of Widikum council, in the Momo Division of the North West Region has been reportedly cut off from the rest of the region, following serious floods and landslides that destroyed the bridge over the Momo River linking the area to other parts of the country.
The Mayor of Widikum, Andoh Stanislaus says “the disastrous incident that occurred on the night of August 12, 2022, claimed three lives, and completely swept away twenty houses”.
There are currently over fifty-five homeless and starving families putting up with neighbors, and that may go on for quite some time.
Following the recent floods, the council has begun mobilizing funds from the government, NGOs and people of goodwill in order to bring relief to 55 destitute persons now living in abject poverty.
“I also want to stress the fact that these victims build houses in risky zones and this isn’t the first time floods are occurring in my area, but despite warnings from authorities for inhabitants to move to safer grounds, they give a deaf ear. My council will henceforth take repressive measures against such residences ”. Mayor of Widikum, Andoh Stanislaus says
The population in the affected zone is in distress as even palm oil from the massive production basin in Widikum cannot be transported to markets in Bamenda and neighboring Nigeria increasing poverty levels.
As many as 70,000 people have been affected by flooding in Cameroon official figures from the National Observatory on Climate Change (ONACC)
And according to statistics from (ONACC), a total of up 97 flood and land slide incidents have occurred between 2019 and 2022 in Cameroon. Mr. Forghab Patrick Mbomba, Director General of ONACC states that some of the most devastating floods occurred in 2019.
“Such cases were witnessed in the Nyong and So’o Division of the Centre Region, where 30% of banana plantations incurred 70% loses of their suckers due to heavy rains accompanied by strong winds.
Floods in Kai Kai district, Mayo Danay Division, displacing up to forty thousand people and at least 60 villages of the 110 in Zina District were affected, with two thousand three hundred and nineteen (2,319) households plagued”.
Another incident that triggered painful memories in 2019 was the Bafoussam Gouache 4 district landslide, on the night of October 28, which killed about 46 people (26 children, 4 pregnant women and 16 adults).
Meanwhile thousands of people remain affected by flooding in the Far North Region of the country after heavy rains caused the Logone River to break it banks, early October, 2019”.Mr. Forghab Patrick Mbomba says.
In the Southwest Region, citizens living in neighborhoods like Clerks quarters, Down Beach, Mabeta New layout and part of Mile two, are usually on the edge during the rainy season as these areas are prone to landslides and floods.
The Mayor of the Limbe city council, Paul Mbole Efome Lisombe says he does not want temporary measures, but to setup definite solutions.
“We have equipment that have been put in place to increase the water way making sure some of the drainage systems are not over crowded and also sensitize the population on how to particularly manage plastic wastes which block water ways generating floods, while creating channels and setting up canals to avoid future landslides are ongoing. But most importantly we are sensitizing the population not to build in this areas considered risk zones”.
Similarly, the Director General for Urban Development and Environmental Management of the Limbe city council, Casimir Nyime Lyonga adds that, planting trees in flood prone areas has been priority for the local authorities who believe this move will curb recurrent flooding incidents in limbe.
“We have a nursery where we plan to produce about 90,000 trees to be planted on the slopes of Mabeta. We have also been working in collaboration with the department of Geology of the University of Buea and the plant that will be used have been tested in South America called the Vetiver, with strong roots that can stretch about six meters deep into the soil”. He says
Municipal authorities and experts along the coastal cities in the South West region are hopeful these measures implemented will reduce the adverse effects of flooding in their communities.