Lake Nyos disaster, 37 years after

August 21 marks exactly 37 years since more than 1,500 people died in the Lake Nyos disaster following an explosion at the lake situated in the North West region of Cameroon. Official statistics declared 1,746 people lost their lives and 3,500 livestock were lost.

Reports revealed that A limnic eruption, also known as a lake overturn took place. It is a very rare type of natural disaster in which dissolved carbon dioxide suddenly erupts from deep lake waters, forming a gas cloud capable of suffocating wildlife, livestock, and humans.

Government later evacuated the survivors to settlement camps with one being at the Kimbi river. Over 12,000 survivors were later returned to seven permanent resettlement camps, including Bua-Bua.

The Non-Governmental Organization, the Bua-Bua Area Development Association, BADA, have been working to assuage the plight of survivors who are today scared of the same incident reoccurring.

According to the Vice President of BADA, government abandoned the survivors after two years.

“After the resettlement of the survivors in the camps, government provided food and medications to the survivors. After two years, government abandoned these survivors. The victims had to struggle on their own to send their children to school, feed and cope with all the difficulties in life. The survivors suffered a lot after they were abandoned by the government, we had school dropouts, lack of food because of a new land they were in,” the Vice president explained to CNA.

“Life today is very deplorable especially as the Anglophone crisis has come and worsened the situation. At a certain time, the people in these areas had to run away, houses were burned down, people were killed, slaughtered. Today, even the houses and camps the government reserved for these survivors have all been burnt down,” he added.

He went further to say that they have decided to raise funds and bring the village back to life.

“Some sons and daughters of this area, Bua-Bua, today in celebration of the 37th anniversary of the village, have decided to use the occasion to raise funds to construct a hanging bridge at one of the rivers that is like a stumbling block for them to sell their products to neighboring villages. We are here today in Douala to commemorate this day, raise funds to link Bua-Bua to other neigbouring villages.”

Lake Nyos is one of the only three exploding lakes in the world, the others being lake Monoun, also in Cameroon, and Lake Kivu in Rwanda.

Source: Cameroon News Agency