World Habitat Day: Construction In Risk Zones Worries Authorities
The 2016 edition comes at a time those with homes in such zones are adamant to relocate.
Danger awaits uncountable homes in the economic capital, Douala. Some of the houses are perched on cliffs like a locality in Logbessou in Douala V municipality; where a landslide is in the offing. Disorderly construction on waterways creates floods each time it rains heavily, while others have constructed in marshy areas or under high tension electricity cables.
These zones are risky for habitation, though occupants are adamant to relocate to other areas. With the commemoration of the 2016 World Habitat Day on October 3 on the theme, “Lodging First,” it is hoped that more sensitisation will do the trick. Else, danger looms for those who do not bother about their own safety. The Douala City Council, in collaboration with sub-divisional councils and administrative and traditional authorities, have carried out uncountable sensitisation campaigns in such zones, persuading inhabitants to avoid the worse by quitting. Some occupants have been paid compensation to quit, but are still staying put. Some have even sold compensated land and homes to unsuspecting people who only realise too late after the City Council bulldozers bring down the structures.
Construction in government land is another preoccupying situation in Douala. In Bois de Singe for instance, inhabitants not illegally buy and sell land, but encroach on the mangrove and even construct adjacent the river bed. Of late, the City Council came up with a town planning whitepaper and has so far engaged in the demolition of houses constructed in risk zones, government land and along the road.