Heavy downpour has completely wreaked many houses and buildings in Buea, Fako Division of the South West Region.
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
At about 2pm local time, March 24, heavy down pour was witnessed in the Buea municipality, chief town of the South West Region which at the end left many homes damaged, and some roads impassable.
With the floods giving no warnings, many people had to abandon their homes in search of shelter, while other braced up for any unforeseen inevitability.
The downpour triggered runoffs with some houses completely destroyed. Videos and photos online shows a resident’s car partly submerged in water. Calls boxes were tumbled, houses destroyed in some localities, and in other places the road was impassable.
The runoff in some localities caused damage on roads. The population could be seen using their bare hands to remove debris from the road.
“The citizens of Buea should know where to construct their houses because when such incidents occur they always tend to blame the council for what happens forgetting they were the cause for their houses being destroyed,” Barrister David Mafany Namange said in an interview.
Locals have blamed the poor drainage system in the municipality, the non-respect of building codes, lack of culverts are some reasons for the cause of the damage caused by the runoff. Across, the municipality one can hardly find a good drainage system where the runoff can be channelled.
Poor building plans in Buea are another cause for concern. Inhabitants hardly consult contractors when building their homes and some build without even making a passage for runoff.
Drainage, graveling and compacting affected roads, filling gullies with rubber; building culverts and drifts on roads are some urgent measures that need to be implemented to prevent the situation from being witnessed again.
“Every one hundred years, the gods of the Mountain cause such to happen in the Buea municipality,” one inhabitant noted, though this statement cannot be totally verified by this reporter.
The Governor of the South West Region Bernard Okalia Bilai was on the scene this March 25 to assess the damages due to the downpour. Nothing was however said by him as to how the government plans to take care of those whose houses were destroyed, and damages caused.
In the locality of Bokwai village, the rainfall caused damages on the crops and other properties of inhabitants. In Greet Soppo, many houses were destroyed as water swept belongings belonging to one inhabitant of the area.
These damages caused serious freights in mind is of the villagers, while the victims were looking for ways on how to secure themselves and their properties; others ran away from the area with the fear that it might be more dangerous.
Some villagers said it is the Bakweri tradition that every after 10 or 15 years Buea always experience such fall from the mountain, others said it may be that the gods of the mountain (Epasa Moto) are not happy with the people.
According Moki Mokondo, a lecturer in UB, what happened in upper Buea is what they call in geology, “Mud Flow” cause by an unusual rain fall or sudden thaw. “The fall was just made of mud, water plus fragments of a rock, and other debris which often behave like flood and this happens when it rains severely up the mountain and when the soil gets saturated of keeping the water, it runs off.”