14 memorial service guests killed in Cameroon landslide

The disaster took place in the eastern outskirts of the working-class district of Damas, situated in the capital city Yaounde

By Agencies

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Rescuers prepare to carry a body after a landslide, which killed people who were attending a funeral, the governor of Cameroon's Centre Region said, in Yaounde, Cameroon November 27, 2022. (Photo: Reuters)
Rescuers prepare to carry a body after a landslide, which killed people who were attending a funeral, the governor of Cameroon's Centre Region said, in Yaounde, Cameroon November 27, 2022. (Photo: Reuters)

Published: Mon 28 Nov 2022, 7:07 AM

Last updated: Mon 28 Nov 2022, 12:16 PM

A landslide in Cameroon's capital Yaounde on Sunday killed at least 14 people who were attending a funeral, the region's governor said, according to a Reuters report.

The victims had gathered at the top of a hill for a memorial service for five people when the ground collapsed under part of the audience.


Dozens of people were attending a funeral on a soccer pitch at the base of a 20-metre high soil embankment, which collapsed on top of them, witnesses told Reuters.

"Some were sitting in a tent where there was a landslide early this evening," Paul Bea, governor of the Centre region that includes Yaounde, told state radio. He added that rescue efforts were ongoing.


The search had been suspended late on Sunday evening before a planned resumption on Monday morning, a rescue worker at the scene told AFP.

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Marie Claire Mendouga, 50, attended the ceremony but her tent was not affected by the landslide.

"We had just started to dance when the ground collapsed," she told AFP.

She said she "went to dig with my hands" to try to get people out from under the earth, and was still covered in the brown clay from the site.

The disaster took place in Yaounde's working-class district of Damas, on its eastern outskirts.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Four large white tents were on the hill's summit, at the edge of what seemed to be a ridge, beyond which the ground had disappeared, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Police pick-up trucks were hauling away bodies covered by white sheets early on Sunday evening.

A police cordon prevented journalists from getting closer to the scene.

Emergency services struggled to make their way to the site, as hundreds of people frantically searched for loved ones. Some in the crowd wept as emergency workers scoured the area.

By 10pm (2100 GMT), the search had been called off.

A member of the emergency services who asked not to be named said the death toll remained at 11, and the search for more victims would resume on Monday morning.

In the crowd behind the security cordon, tears were streaming down faces.

"I'm not sure if I'll be able to sleep," Mendouga said.

"You are sitting down, you have people behind you and afterwards, they're dead."

Landslides occur relatively frequently in Cameroon, but they are rarely as deadly as Sunday's incident in Yaounde.

Forty-three people were killed in the western city of Bafoussam in 2019, when a landslide triggered by heavy rains swept away a dozen precarious dwellings built on the side of a hill.

According to Reuters, Yaounde is one of the wettest cities in Africa and is made of dozens of steep, shack-lined hills. Heavy rains have triggered several devastating floods throughout the country this year, weakening infrastructure and displacing thousands.



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