By Ngala Killian Chimtom | Catholic News Service
YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon (CNS) — Archbishop Jean Mbarga said he had learned with “deep shock” about a funeral at which at least 14 people were buried by a landslide.
The mourners had gathered at a soccer field at the base of a 65-foot-high soil embankment to mourn one of their deceased relatives. But the embankment gave way, covering mourners Nov. 28.
Naseri Paul Bea, regional governor, confirmed the deaths and indicated that dozens of others were rushed to the hospital in serious condition.
In a statement, Archbishop Mbarga said, “I join the population of the Yaoundé 3 district in presenting my condolences to all the bereaved families.”
He urged the Christian community to show solidarity and spiritual closeness with the families of the victims “in this month of All Souls, so that the souls of the deceased may rest in peace.”
“I call on all Christians in the Yaoundé Archdiocese to pray to God to comfort the bereaved families.”
In a similar show of solidarity, the U.S. Embassy to Cameroon expressed “its deepest condolences to the family and friends of those lost in yesterday’s tragic landslide in Yaoundé.”
“Our thoughts are with the bereaved families. We also wish those injured in the tragedy a speedy recovery,” said the Nov. 29 statement.
Bea described the area as a “very dangerous spot” and called on the population to stay away from areas that could potentially cause them harm.
Cameroon has suffered weather swings in recent years. In June, heavy rains caused flooding in the capital, with one person drowning as a result.
The country’s Far North region has also been hit by floods since August this year. At least 150,000 people have been affected and more than18,000 homes destroyed.