KOUSSERI, CAMEROON - Cameroon says at least 15,000 people have been made homeless or displaced by floodwaters along its northern border with Chad. Government and aid groups are on the border to help those in need, but flood victims say food and medicine are scarce.
Cameroon authorities say heavy rains that began in September and worsened this week forced the Logone River to burst its banks.
In the town of Kousseri, farmer Ali Khadil said on Friday morning his house and 15 others were destroyed by floodwaters.
He said at about five o’clock in the morning, the Logone River, on the border with Chad, burst its banks and swept away their homes. Khadil said he is grateful to God for saving the lives of his two wives and four children. But he said his family is hungry and his children no longer have a means to go to school.
Cameroon’s Far North region authorities say several hundred homes and farms have been destroyed since Wednesday.
No casualties have been reported but many people are homeless.
Thirty-five year-old fisherman Oumar Aziz, a spokesman for the flood victims, said they are urgently waiting for food and medical help. Aziz said waters from the Logone and Chari rivers that flow past Kousseri have swept away all the sandbags used to try to stop further flood damage in their village. He said flood waters have swept away 70 percent of houses along the banks of the river Logone, both in Cameroon and Chad.
It was not possible to independently verify how many houses were destroyed in Chad.
But Chad public broadcaster Tele Chad reported the country's government sent food aid to victims.
Kousseri mayor Esseini Darkadre said the city council is providing food and medical aid on the Cameroon side.
He said a lot of farmers from areas that are now dry, because of the advancing desert, settled along the river to grow and sell crops in Cameroon and Chad. Darkadre said the council intends to relocate people from risky areas along the river to safer places.
Cameroon authorities say the International Red Cross and United Nations are also providing aid.
Seasonal rains from surrounding hills and nearby Lake Chad often cause flooding in the Logone and Chari Rivers.
The worst floods in northern Cameroon in 2012 claimed 60 lives after more than a month of heavy rains.
Cameroon authorities say flooding last year left 100,000 people homeless on both sides of the border.