By Donald Shey & Browndine Nyenti
Sixteen people have been confirmed dead following the collapse of a four-storey building in Douala V Subdivision in the early hours of Sunday, July 23.
By Sunday evening, the Fire Fighters Brigade and other units involved in search operations had found at least 32 victims of the incident.
The Governor of the Littoral Region, Samuel Dieudonne Ivaha Diboua, visited the scene of the incident before making another stop at Laquintinie Hospital, where several victims were hospitalised.
“Around midnight, the building of four storeys collapsed and 31 people were concerned. We have got 12 that died and the other ones are in the hospitals,” Governor Ivaha Diboua told CRTV on Sunday.
“We want to tell the population that the situation is under control because the military people, gendarmes and also the other companies and fire fighters are around. They are working to make sure that there’s nobody remaining inside. So, they are still working and we are sure that they are going to make efforts to finish the work even today or tomorrow,” he added.
It is feared more dead bodies could be retrieved from the building as search operations continue. Earlier, on Sunday, the Commander of the Army Rescue Unit, Kadrey Abdiel, said they had retrieved about 39 people from the collapsed structure and nine were dead.
“We have managed to remove 39 bodies and nine died at the spot while 30 were rushed to Deido and some taken to the Laquintinie Hospital,’’ Kadrey Abdiel told Equinoxe television.
The building came crashing down around 3.00am Sunday, when dozens of its occupants, mostly tenants, were asleep.
The incident has left family members of deceased victims inconsolable. Dozens of residents of Mobile Guinness quarter, where the incident occurred, have been fronting search operations.
They told journalists that voices of people trapped in the collapsed building could still be heard. At press time, excavators were helping them in the rescue job.