A devastating fire swept through the Douche municipal market in Akwa, Douala, late on June 11, 2024, destroying numerous shops and causing significant losses for traders.

The blaze, which started around midnight, rapidly spread through the market area, fueled by the dense clustering of wooden stalls and the presence of flammable materials. Eyewitnesses described chaotic scenes as traders and residents attempted to salvage what they could from the burning stalls. “It was a nightmare,” said one trader. “We tried to save our goods, but the fire was too intense. Everything is gone.”

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation, but initial reports suggest that an electrical fault may have sparked the blaze. Authorities have pledged a thorough investigation to determine the cause and prevent future occurrences. Market fires have been a recurrent issue in Douala, often attributed to poor electrical wiring and the congested layout of market areas.

Local authorities reported that the fire consumed a large section of the market before firefighters managed to bring it under control in the early hours of the morning. Preliminary estimates suggest that hundreds of millions of CFA francs worth of goods have been lost in the blaze

In the aftermath of the fire, government officials, including the Mayor of Douala, visited the site to assess the damage and offer support to affected traders. The Mayor promised swift action to provide relief and assist traders in rebuilding their businesses. “We understand the pain and loss our traders are experiencing,” he said. “The government will take all necessary steps to support them during this difficult time.”

The fire at Douala’s Akwa market is a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities faced by traders in informal market settings. As recovery efforts begin, the focus remains on rebuilding and ensuring that such a disaster does not recur, safeguarding the livelihoods of thousands of market traders in Douala and beyond.


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