Lake of Death How a Gas Tsunami Killed Thousands of

Lake of Death: How a “Gas Tsunami Killed Thousands of People and Animals

In another place, all the people, pigs, goats and cows died. Strangely, the only living creature when rescuers arrived was a chicken.

In Cha, Kumba Ndongabang looked in disbelief at the two graves containing his five wives. There were no flies around the animal carcasses because the flies were also dead.

Around 300 people filled the region's few hospitals. The official fatalities included 1,746 people and around 3,500 animals. However, they could be larger, as many bodies were hastily buried, including in mass graves, for fear of the spread of a cholera or typhus epidemic, although the likelihood of this happening is almost zero, experts assure.

Authorities had difficulty dealing with the situation. Firstly, the originality. Such a natural disaster, also known as a limnic eruption, has only occurred once in recent history. In 1984, just two years earlier, the Lake Monoun explosion, also in Cameroon, killed 37 people.

Secondly, the inaccessibility of the place. Nyos is more than four hours from Bamenda, the regional capital. Excavators had difficulty getting around so many hills.

Finally, political slowness. Nothing new here.