At least 14 people attending a funeral in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde were killed by a landslide Sunday, the region’s governor said. Witnesses said the victims were attending a memorial for family members when the ground they were standing on gave way.
The victims were part of a group that had gathered to mourn the deaths of several relatives.
Dozens of people were attending a funeral on a soccer pitch at the base of a 20-meter high soil embankment, which collapsed on top of them, witnesses told Reuters.
An AFP reporter saw four large white tents at the hill’s summit, on the edge of what seemed to be a ridge, beyond which the ground had disappeared.
“We are carrying the corpses to the mortuary of the central hospital,” Naseri Paul Bea, governor of Cameroon’s central region, told media at the scene.
“The search to find other bodies under the earth is continuing,” he added.
Early Sunday evening, police pick-up trucks took away bodies covered by white sheets, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.
Emergency services were trying to make their way to the site, as hundreds of local people frantically searched for loved ones.
Some people in the crowd wept as emergency workers searched the site.
The disaster happened in the working-class district of Damas, on the eastern outskirts of the capital.
Yaounde is one of the cities in Africa that receives the most precipitation. The capital consists of dozens of steep, shack-lined hills.
Heavy rains have triggered several devastating floods throughout the country this year, weakening infrastructure and displacing thousands.