Inhabitants ofswampy areasin Yaoundé are currently sleeping with one eye closed asthe rainy season makeslife unbearable
Climatic change and its consequences can best be explained by inhabitants ofswampy areasin Cameroon’s political, Yaoundé.
Laure, a mother of four, has been living in a swampy area for thepast eight years.Eachtime it rains,the 38-year- old lady, prays for nature’s mercy. "Each heavy downpour makes my house to be inundated.Movement in and out of my home becomes difficult,"she said."We hardly sleep in the night because of mosquitoes, frogs and crickets. We share our house with flies, rats and cockroaches. Every now and then, a family member falls sick."
Seraphine, another inhabitant of the Biyem-Assi neighbourhood,talks of the psychological impact of the rainy season on their daily lives " When you are not at home during heavy rainfall, it is traumatizing to think how you will get back home and what will become of your children and property,'' she recounts.
Biyem-Assi is a popular district in the Yaoundé VI subdivision which has witnessed a population explosion in recent years, estimated at roughly 300,000 inhabitants.
Swampy areas in Yaoundé are often sold out at relatively low prices, thereby attracting many people from across Cameroon who purchase some portions and construct their houses, heedless of the geographical inconvenience.
In October 2017, the Mayor of YaoundéVI,JacquesYoki Onana ordered inhabitants of swampy zonesto quit.
But the inhabitants gave a deaf ear, citing poverty asthe reason for not quitting to safer zones, ''We continue to live in this area because we lack the means to go and rent houses in conducive areas'' Serapine reacted.
Children living in these swampy zones are exposedto great danger. "I fear the fate of my children most when it rains. You need to escort them to and from school every day especially when it israining for fear of the unknown,''said an inhabitant.
Most swamp dwellers also intimated that the rainy season usually imposes additional spending on them as they are
obliged to buy disinfectants to mitigate the risks of contracting water-borne diseases.
The inhabitants have expressed the wish to see the government come to their aid. “We are pleading with the government to canalise themain riverin the zone which isthe cause of the floods during heavy downpour. If the government can also help us with treated mosquito-bed nets, we will be grateful,” said Mrs Laure.