At least forty two people have died and many more are missing following a landslide in the city of Bafoussam, in West Region, Cameroon, on Monday 28 October 2019. The incident happened late at night when many people were sleeping in the residential are where the landslip occurred, and it is thought that many children and at least two pregnant women are among the dead. The event is likely to have been caused by heavy rain in the area. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.
Damage to a building following a landslide in Bafoussan, Cameroon, on 28 October 2019. Leclerc Tsakem/AP.
West Africa has a distinct two season climatic cycle, with a cool dry season during the northern winter when prevalent winds blow from the Sahara to the northeast, and a warm rainy season during the northern summer when prevalent winds blow from the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. These warm winds from the Atlantic are laden with moisture, which can be lost rapidly when the air encounters cooler conditions, such as when it is pushed up to higher altitudes by the Jos Plateau of central Nigeria and Shebshi Mountains on the border with Cameroon. The rainy season in West Region is long, typically starting in May and continuing to October or November.
Rainfall and prevalent winds during the West African dry and rainy seasons. Encyclopedia Britanica.
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