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At least 33 dead in Cameroon building collapse

Rescue workers assisted by a digger sifted through the steel and concrete rubble for signs of life   -  
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The collapse of an apartment building on Saturday night in Douala, Cameroon's economic capital, left at least 33 people dead and five injured in an absolute emergency, according to a new provisional toll given to AFP by a fire officer and local authorities.

On Saturday night, at around 01:30 (00:30 GMT), a four-storey apartment building in the north of Douala collapsed onto another one-storey residential building. The accident left 33 people dead and 21 injured, including five in "absolute emergency", according to a fire officer speaking on condition of anonymity, and the governor of Littoral, one of the country's ten regions.

Rescue operations, including the clearing of rubble with a mechanical shovel in the hope of finding survivors, began on Sunday and continued into the evening and Monday morning, according to a local resident contacted by AFP.

"The situation is under control and the firefighters are working to ensure that no one remains under the rubble," said Samuel Dieudonné Ivaha Diboua, the governor of the Littoral region, who visited the site on Sunday.

An earlier provisional toll late on Sunday put the death toll at at least sixteen, with five injured in absolute emergency.

On the same day, Douala's Laquintinie hospital reported that it had treated "thirteen cases from this tragedy", and recorded two deaths, including "a three-year-old girl and a 19-year-old girl".

The other eleven people admitted were three children treated in pediatric emergencies, two teenagers, a 28-year-old woman and five men, the hospital said.

In 2016, the collapse of a residential building in Douala caused the death of five people, and the authorities raised the issue of compliance with construction standards. In June of the same year, they had identified 500 buildings "threatening ruin" in the city.

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