The government of Cameroon has declared today Monday 24 October, 2016 as a national day for mourning following the death of over 200 passengers during last Fridays derailment by a train belonging to the national rail company, Camrail. Even though government sources insist that just over 80 passengers perished, information from the Eseka debunks their assertion.
According to official sources, all flags in the country are expected to be flown at half mast today in memory of the victims who lost their lives in what critics have described as a careless mistake by officials of Camrail that faithful Friday.
social media have nicknamed it “Black Friday for Cameroon”.
Genesis of the problem that led to the accident
It all started when a bridge on national road three that connects Cameroons political capital Yaounde to the economic hub, Douala, gave way due to heavy rainfall around Manyai. Because of this, all the travelers who had to use the road either to Yaounde or Douala where forced to either go by rail or air transport.
Government sources hold that those who decided to use the inter-city train network from the political capital were in great numbers and thus the wagons had to be increased from eight to 16.
Reports hold that the increase was authorized by the Minister of Transport, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o, but the Minister has so far distanced himself from the accident pushing the blame to Camrail officials..
Passenger train meant for 600 ends up transporting over 1300
Friday morning was flooded with passengers at the Yaounde Camrail agency as thousands turned out to get on board the train destined for Douala.
As an aftermath, a train meant to transport 600 passengers ended up carrying over 1300 of them. While the true cause of the derailment is yet to be established as investigations are still ongoing, some injured victims are reportedly receiving medical attention in Douala as the death toll keeps rising.
Presidential couple who have been out of the nation for over 30 days, forced to return home
President Paul Biya, who happened to be on a private stay in Switzerland, entered the nation yesterday Sunday accompanied by first lady Chantal Biya. After arriving, he addressed the Nation and extended his condolence to families who lost their loved ones.
Paul Biya and his wife, who were on a private stay in Europe for over 30 days, announced that investigations were ongoing as all patients of the train derailment were to be treated free of charge thanks to the state taking the cost burden..
Dead toll expected to rise
As the death toll continues to rise, the number of disasters that befell the nation in that one day is the largest in recorded history.
The road split in two halves, the train derailment, the crushing of roadside citzens in Douala by a truck and the sudden inflaming of a private car in the economic capital are all incidents that have never being recorded in a single day by the nation.
Economic blow of Friday's incident
While last Friday's economic loss according to government sources is estimated at 4 Billion FCFA, a temporal bridge has been put in place and circulation has resumed on the Douala-Yaounde highway.
Camrail officials have announced that the railway will be re-opened in the days ahead.
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