Inhabiting Risky Zones: The Perilous Resistance!

The history of risky zones is almost as old as that of the world but the understanding and actions of individual countries and citizens are no doubt what make a difference. If menacing zones have raged on for centuries and left nefarious consequences on unruly populations, the likelihood that the threat and their effects might increase in the medium and long terms remains high. For, climate change with its unpredictability stares almost all societies in the face. Environmental experts have severally held that growing urbanisation and climate change create complex risks, especially for those cities that already experience poorly planned urban growth coupled with high levels of poverty, unemployment and even lack of basic services.  
A United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has even warned that half of humanity lives in danger zones now due to climate change hazards. Visibly, some areas that never witnessed floods are experiencing them now and others are prone to landslides. Difficult to tell what could happen in the next minute. While waiting for recommended climate adaptation, investments need to speed up to restore degraded ecosystems effectively and equitably, given that climate change affects the lives of billions of people worldwide. Countries have been formulating flexible methods of dealing with the global worry.
In Cameroon for example, the sermon on the dangers of inhabiting risky zones has been preached at almost all levels by both municipal and civil society as well as administrative authorities. Results of the sensitisation campaigns remain far-fetched as people concerned with the alarm seem to continually go about their activities in near serenity until the worse happens. The disasters that frequently hit the country from North to South and East to West suggest that either the preachers are crusading in the wilderness and or those expected not to harden their hearts rather toughen them the more.  A disturbing situation, to say the least! 
The recent landslide that claimed over a dozen lives in the Damas neighbourhood of Yaounde simply added up to the list of others that have killed many and rendered others homeless across the country. Cameroonians cannot easily forget the disaster that hit the Gouache neighbourhood, Bafoussam III Subdivision, Mifi Division of the West Region in October 2019 when a landslide left at least 42 deaths and rendered over 140 families homeless. Countless others have occurred in almost all the regions of the country with varied socio-economic consequences on the people, their society and the country at large. Even way back in 2001, reports are still fresh in the minds of keen observers how on 27 June 2001, one of the devastating landslides and floods in the history of Cameroon occurred in Limbe, South West Region killing 24 people. It is even reported that the disaster which lasted over 30 minutes produced more than 43 landslide scars, several tension cracks, destroyed 120 houses and rendered over 2,800 people homeless. Stories of other areas can be told till cows come home.
In almost all of the disaster zones, local authorities often come out to decry what they say is the population’s resistance in complying with quit notices dished out once the areas are studied and deemed risky for human habitation. In Gouache for example, City Council authorities were quick to complain that way back in 2015, the area had been identified as a high risk zone and the population inhabiting therein requested to move out.  The message fell on their deaf ears only for the victims to attract public pity when the worse finally happened. Cries were heard from all over as comfort and condolence messages poured in from far and near. However, the damage was already irreparable. Priceless lives had already been wasted and lifetime investments reduced to nothing. Crying over spilt milk indeed! The same holds for the Damas drama, likewise others elsewhere where inhabitants continue being stubborn. 
Apparently, so many other nationals are certainly living in areas where they have been asked to abandon owing to their likely dangers. The heart-hardened people might complain of how to relocate in cases where they have even been shown relocation areas. But it would be better to wonder around alive than perish in devastating and unannounced floods or landslides. 
For one thing, each time incidences of such nature occur, the Head of State, as a father of the nation, almost always sends a government team to comfort and assist the infected and affected. In the case of Gouache, the Head of State reacted promptly offering FCFA 200 million – FCFA 100 million for the organisation of funerals for the 43 victims and FCFA 100 million for survivors to relocate. He also provided material help for the survivors to rel...



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