Some 40,000 people of Wabane sub-division in Lebialem are in danger of being buried by a series of sporadic landslides. Twenty-one people were killed in the first that took place on 20 July.
By with additional reports from Christopher Ambe in Buea The situation is said to be so risky that the sub-divisional office has been transferred from its location elsewhere while the inhabitants of Magha where the disaster started, are left in the lurch. “We are already orphans, perching with family members, friends, neighbours and even in some empty houses without doors”, said Nembo Abraham, Magha chief when he received relief from CERAC, Chantal Biya’s charity on 2nd August. At the weekend the mayor of Wabane, Keju Tanyi Simon, and paramount ruler of Bamumbu, Lekunze Nembongwe II appealed to the government through South West governor Thomas Ejake Mbonda who visited them to resettle the affected population to advert more disaster. They were vindicating Lebialem SDO who had earlier told the CERAC delegation that the disaster was far from over. Mboke Godlive Ntuba, divisional officer for Lebialem, said the “disaster was still unfolding and its full magnitude was still to be known,” debunking reports by Yaounde authorities that the emergency had subsided. So devastating have been the landslides and floods that the sub-divisional office, the administrative seat of the sub-division has been moved to Bakeng kilometers away. Since the series of landslides started in the division, said to be the most marginalized in Cameroon, only South West governor Thomas Ejake Mbonda has visited the scene thrice. A ministerial delegation sent on the instruction of the head of state to evaluate the damage ended in Bamenda due to the enclaved nature of the area. No government relief has been given nor has any attempt been made to resettle the people who risk being swept away from the mountainous sub-division. Apart from CERAC, the other important institution which has come to the assistance of the victims is the Nigerian consulate in Buea. Consul-general G.B. Igali, has donated half a million francs to victims of the Magha landslide. The donation, according to an August 8 consular press statement, was handed to South West governor Thomas Ejake Mbonda in Buea, for onward transmission to the victims when the diplomat called on the governor to extend on behalf of the Nigerian community in the South West, condolence for the tragedy. The Herald learned the governor was thankful for the concern shown by the consul-general, and expressed the hope that Cameroonians and Nigerians would continue to live like brothers. In a letter of sympathy addressed to South West governor, Igali wrote: “We share the great shock of the event with you and commiserate most sincerely with the affected families. We pray that the Good Lord will grant to them comfort and solace to continue living with hope and fortitude. God bless you and the entire people of Cameroon.” Assistance has been trickling in from both organisations and individuals beginning with the lone Lebialem deputy, Bernard Foju who sent a million frs, followed by another Lebialem elite Diane Acha Morfaw whose 3.7 million frs package included drugs, clothes and food items. Transport minister John B. Ndeh has also promised to give aid through the North West Development Partnership of which he is the president. Guinness Cameroun is so far the only company that has offered gifts to the victims who are still waiting for government help.