Death toll rises to 37 in Cameroon building collapse

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The death toll from a building collapse in Cameroon’s business hub Douala rose to 37 on Monday, as neighbours recalled the structure’s “failings” and “cracks”, fearing more bodies lie under the ruins. The four-storey block of flats collapsed onto another residential building in the north of the city overnight on Saturday.

Cameroon’s urban development minister Celestine Ketcha-Courtes, who visited the scene of the tragedy on Monday, told reporters that the ill-fated building “did not have planning permission”.

Rescuers were still trying to clear the rubble with a digger after seeking survivors throughout Sunday and Monday, a resident told AFP.

Douala’s Laquintinie hospital on Sunday said it had taken in 13 patients, two of whom — a three-year-old girl and a woman aged 19 — had died.

“The toll could still go up,” said computer scientist Prosper Tchinda, who was one of the first on the scene on Sunday.

“There was one survivor who got out with just scratches and we found a baby safe and sound,” he told AFP by telephone.

The 42-year-old lives a few minutes’ walk from the block and said there had been “some sort of event with music going on when it happened”.

Nathalie, who also lives in the area but did not want to give her full name, said the building had “failings” and was in a poor state.

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