Everyday Disasters - Reality Check from Cameroon

Home owner of Unity quarter in Limbe Home owner of Unity quarter in Limbe

Mount Cameroon volcano could erupt any day, and yet the community worries mostly about their homes collapsing in the heavy rains.

Unity Quarter in Limbe, Cameroon lies at the foot of a volcano which is predicted to erupt every 15 years, with the last eruption in 2000. The tongues of lava cause extensive damage to everything that comes in its way. The last eruption cut through fields, forests and anything in its way with a tongue 15m high, 1km wide and 2km long, eventually stopping less than 100m from a community. If it had reached the sea, the lava would have caused major explosions and damage. Most of Limbe is built on pyroclastic material so it is possible that the next eruption could reach the town.

However, resident's of Limbe tell us it is not the volcano that they are most concerned about. Their quarter is built on a cone of volcanic ash which is very unstable and hard to build on. As more people move into the quarter they are forced to live in more and more unsafe areas. People tell us that the area is prone to landslips causing both loss of life and damage to property. The local community is trying to prevent the landslips by developing low cost interventions such as building retaining walls out of used car tires. The other issue with volcanic soil is that it is very permeable during rains. The water flows through the Quarter in very unregulated way with only a few gutters controlling the water, and where there are gutters they are frequently filled with rubbish and soil preventing the water from freely moving downhill. Instead the water pools and causes further land instability.

Find out more watching the video about everyday disasters at the GNDR YouTube channel.


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