Story highlights

More bodies discovered floating in Cameroon flood waters

Nearly a month of heavy rain has destroyed homes and farms and killed livestock

A dam fracture has caused a river to flood villages and is blamed for drownings

Maroua, Cameroon CNN  — 

Flooding in Cameroon’s Far North Region has killed nearly 30 people and affected more than 26,000 others, officials said Monday.

The inundation in the Far North Region has affected more than 26,000, officials said Thursday, and in neighboring Nigeria at least 15 deaths are blamed on waters rushing into the country from Cameroon’s compromised Lagdo Dam on the Benoue River.

Communication Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary described the flooding as “a calamity,” and he called for urgent action to save lives, livestock and property. Dana FM, a local radio station, said the death toll will grow as bodies are collected and identified. For the past few weeks, there has been no sign of the flood easing.

The floodwaters have submerged areas like Benoue, Faro, Louti and Mayo. Homes, crops and barns have been destroyed and herds of livestock killed. Heavy rainfall that has lasted nearly a month has fractured the Lagdo Dam, causing the Benoe River to flood nearby villages.

Aid agencies like Plan International Cameroon and the United Nations Population Fund are concerned about the potential spread of infectious diseases such as cholera and malaria. About 3,000 people have been hospitalized, and tents have been erected to house victims.

In 2010, flooding in northern Cameroon triggered an outbreak of cholera that claimed nearly 6,000 lives, according to official estimates.

Thousands of children are suffering from respiratory problems brought on by the flooding, and malaria infections among pregnant women are running high, according to Dr Alain Njiki of the UNFPA, which normally offers reproductive health services in Cameroon but has had to double as a medical aid agency since the flooding began.

Demian Toh, a Red Cross official, told CNN that food supplies are running low and the tents are inadequate for the tens of thousands of displaced flood victims. Toh said there were serious concerns about malnutrition among women and children.

Cameroon’s president Paul Biya and a delegation of ministers Thursday offered supplies and vaccination kits in UN camps for internally displaced persons. A flood victim in one camp who preferred anonymity said the government assistance is too small and sidelining thousands of families.