Flood : A bridge to ease movement across Tongo bassa river in Douala
A view of the bridge under construction

Flood : A bridge to ease movement across Tongo bassa river in Douala

The cries of distress from the population and the actions taken by associations have prompted the authorities to launch this project Flood in Douala. Actually in its  first phase, the completion of construction works on the bridge to connect makepe I missoke to Bepanda yonyong will be done upon instruction from the mayor of the Douala 5 council.

Along the road which links Makepe I Missoke to Bepanda Yonyong, both located in the Douala 5 municipality, houses are built on a marshy zone. One of the buildings belongs to Joseph Koulepou, a shoe mender who is equally the head of this quarter.

His house is made of block and is located about 50 meters from river Tongo Bassa, the largest catchment area in Douala Flood in Douala. Just in front of it, is a half dry gutter with grass, spirogyra and plastic papers.  During the rainy season, this drain is the source of many problems. Joseph Koulepou explains that, one of the main problems, inhabitants of this quarter face is floods which is a result of poor drainage systems. «When there is much water in the quarter, our children are obliged to go round, in order to get to Bepanda which is just close to us for school. The last time we witnessed that, is one month ago», he confides.

It is the same scenario in Bepanda petit Wouri, which is on the other side of the river. Most of the access roads in the quarter have been covered by water. One has to leap over them, before getting to the other side of the quarter. According to inhabitants of the neighborhood of that part of the Douala 5 subdivision, the situation is worse in the rainy season Flood in Douala.  « Since 2018, every rainy season comes with anguish for us here in Bepanda petit wouri. The floods wash away our possessions, destroy our homes and leaves behind a feeling of helplessness. I had to leave my house several times with my family in a hurry to escape the rising waters. The announcement of the drainage project in 2016 raised a lot of hopes, but we are still waiting for concrete results. Flooding seems to be becoming more frequent and this is taking a heavy toll on our daily lives», Laments Marie E, a resident.

To remedy the difficulties experienced by the people living in these neighborhoods, the Douala 5 Council has decided to construct a bridge, after a number of actions taken by OnEstEnsemble. It is a grassroots association that brings citizens together in neighborhoods to fight to improve their living conditions.

The Douala 5 council assessed the feasibility of the work after three correspondences, the first of which dates back to 2020. According to the framework document for the presentation of « La bataille pour la reconstruction du Pont Vérité » writen by OnEstEnsemble, 18 million F Cfa had been allocated by the council for the construction of the bridge Flood in Douala.

According to Arnorld Kouamo, Community organiser for precarious neighbourhoods of the association, the engineers he met on site when work began stated that the budget had changed. « I went to the field and met the engineers on ground to find out how long the project will last. They told me there was an underestimation during the mounting of the project Flood in Douala. They said the project has been decided to two phases and that instead of the initial 18 million F Cfa, they need 25 million F Cfa to complete it », confides Arnorld Kouamo.

The first phase of the work which consist on planting the pillars began on the 7th of December 2023 and has to end in the month of January 2024. The second one which will involve building the bridge itself will begin upon instruction of the mayor of the Douala 5 council.

Rex Afon (Intern)

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