Cameroon: Death toll in Bafoussam landslide rises

Children and pregnant women among dead as rescue teams scour for bodies under rubble after heavy rains in Bafoussam.

    Rescue workers search through the rubble following a landslide in Bafoussam [Leclerc Tsakem/AP]
    Rescue workers search through the rubble following a landslide in Bafoussam [Leclerc Tsakem/AP]

    The death toll from a landslide caused by heavy rains in western Cameroon has risen to at least 42 people, including more than two dozen children, according to officials and state media. 

    Rescue teams spent Wednesday scouring the debris of destroyed houses in the town of Bafoussam in the western highlands, some 300km (186 miles) from the capital, Yaounde.

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    Among the bodies recovered were those of 26 children, state-run Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) reported.

    Four pregnant women were also killed, the minister of territorial administration, Paul Atanga Nji, told journalists in the capital.

    On Tuesday evening, authorities had placed the death toll at at least 37 people.

    The search resumed for additional bodies believed to still be under the rubble, CRTV reported.

    "Around 10pm I heard a noise," Albert Kenge, a survivor, said.

    "I saw a big cloud of dust and, when it dissipated, I saw that the mountain had collapsed," he was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency. 

    Rescue workers search through the rubble following a landslide in Bafoussam Cameroon, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019.  Cameroon on Monday deployed rescue workers and its military to search the wreckage of hou
    Search efforts resumed for additional bodies believed to be buried under the rubble [Leclerc Tsakem/AP]

    Cameroon's President Paul Biya expressed his condolences to the families of the victims.

    "I heard with emotion, the death of several compatriots, following a landslide occurred at Gouache 4 district in Bafoussam," he said in a statement.

    "In this tragic circumstance, I address my sincere condolences to the families of the victims."

    Authorities on Wednesday called on the population to leave the affected area due to fears of additional landslides as rains continue.

    Heavy rainfall has continued beyond the end of Central Africa's rainy season, causing severe flooding that has displaced nearly 30,000 people in Cameroon's neighbour, the Central African Republic.

    SOURCE: News agencies