On Monday, July 3, Benjamin Mboutou, the senior divisional officer of the Wouri, issued a release warning the population of impending heavy rains. The situation is still far from the August 2020 floods that caused major damages and displaced 5,000 persons in Douala. Nevertheless, the administrative authority informs about weather forecasts that announce "heavy downpours in July, August, and September" in Douala. The downpours, he says, are likely “to cause widespread flooding at various places in the districts of Douala” and “landslides are to be feared on sites with sandy gullies."
According to the latest bulletin of decadal climate predictions issued by the National Observatory on Climate Change (NOCC), July 1st to 10 will be marked by "extremely heavy rainfall" in the Littoral region, including Douala, the regional capital. The NOCC warns that there will be a high risk of drowning deaths due to flooding or house collapses in certain localities, as well as landslides, especially in areas with steep slopes.
In its release, the senior divisional officer urges residents of areas with extremely fragile ecosystems where rainfalls are forecasted to remain alert, stay away from flooded areas, and quickly seek shelter in case of flooding. He also invites them to "stop clogging gutters and drains through a number of often decried activities". During rainy seasons, the city of Douala is regularly flooded.
Public authorities regularly claim that these floods are due to people's failure to comply with urban planning and land-use standards and regulations. They refer in particular to drain clogging at various places due to unlawful constructions and garbage dumps that prevent rainwater from being drained.
Beyond this, meteorologists explain that Douala is the ideal rain-fed area. The city usually records a 9-month rainy season. That season usually consists of six months of heavy rainfall from June to November, with August being the wettest month.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem