Douala building collapse death toll could rise as 16 confirmed killed 0

At least 16 people have been killed and nearly three dozen injured after a four-storey building collapsed onto a smaller one in Cameroon’s largest city, according to authorities.

“The casualty figures may be higher”, said Samuel Dieudonne Ivaha Diboua, governor of Cameroon’s Littoral region, where the city Douala is located.

The commercial centre is 210 kilometres west of the capital, Yaounde.

The governor said that “rescue workers, assisted by Cameroon government troops, are still digging the wreckage to see if more bodies can be recovered.”

The military’s fire brigade has been ordered to join the country’s Red Cross and other rescue services in searching for survivors.

Residents living in the Ndogbon neighbourhood where the incident took place said they were in shock.

“We heard people screaming … and struggled to help some out of the wreckage, but could not do it with our spades and hoes,” Gaspard Ndoppo, who lives near the collapsed buildings, said.

The four-storey building caved in around midnight local time and the cause remains unclear, but locals said it looked to have deteriorated with exposed and worn out rods.

Building collapses happen often in Douala, sometimes due to natural disasters such as landslides and other times because of poor construction, locals say.

Douala’s city council is currently demolishing houses in high-risk zones susceptible to floods or landslides but the building that collapsed was not marked for demolition.

Source: AP/Reuters