Death toll from building collapse in Cameroon rises to 33

Death toll from building collapse in Cameroon rises to 33

'One incident too many,' says Minister of Housing

By Aurore Bonny

DOUALA, Cameroon (AA) - The death toll from the collapse of a four-story building in Cameroon has risen to at least 33, a health source from the country's commercial capital Douala reported on Monday.

The building collapsed on top of a one-story dwelling on the night of Saturday in the Ndogbong district north of Douala. The local hospital, Laquintinie Hospital, said it has been taking bodies into its morgue and that at least 33 people have died.

Rescue workers reported 32 victims, including nine dead and 23 rescued on Sunday morning, indicating that the building was in a "dilapidated state" before the collapse. By mid-day, authorities announced that excavation was continuing, and the death toll had risen to twelve people.

The reason for the collapse is not apparent, and authorities are investigating the incident.

Rescue personnel "worked tirelessly to mitigate the extent of the damage and save lives," according to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development Celestine Ketcha Courtes, who visited the incident's site on Monday.

She also visited hospitals "where 21 victims are receiving treatment."

"A commission will be set up to take stock of the situation, identify responsibilities and take a series of measures to ensure that such accidents do not occur in the future," she assured the public.

"This is one incident too many," said Courtes, noting that if town-planning rules are respected, such tragedies will not occur.

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