Those are many questions nobody can answer today in Cameroon. The is because the meteorology stations that would have given the answers have been abandoned for the past 22 years.
Meteorology services are managed in Cameroon by the Ministry of Transports, which has a national meteorology department. The budget of that Ministry in 2012 is 8.5 billion. The meteorology services are responsible for giving information on climate, rainfall, air and soil humidity, wind direction and speed, temperature...In short, they are supposed to inform people on what the weather is like and how it will be in future. To achieve this, meteorology stations are installed in different parts of the country. They are equipped with technology called weather report.
Besides air transport, agriculture is one of the sectors that use weather report to determine the exact farming season. For instance if on march 15, we know that there will be rain on march 20, planting can start on march 16, knowing that rains are coming on march 20.
According to a press release issued by the forum of civil society partners of the Ministry of Forest and wildlife/ Ministry of Environment and nature protection, out of 58 meteorology stations under the supervision of the Ministry of Transport, 55 have been useless for a good number of years and 03 other functioning below their normal capacities: the infrastructures are obsolete, equipment are old and very few qualified personnel. Out of 59 meteorologists in Cameroon in 2010, there is only 01 engineer. In 2011, 9 of them went on retirement and 15 others will retire between 2012 and 2015, according to the press release.
In the same line, out of 600 climatologic and rainfall centres, only 35 are functioning. Worse, the World Meteorology Organization states that Cameroon meteorology services are the last out of 186 member countries.
We witnessed the sad situation on the field, in Yaounde, Ebolowa, Bafoussam, Nkongsamba, Douala and Edea (See pictures).
While the bush has taken over the shelter of the meteorology station in Bafia, in Nkongsamba, goats have been tied to the pluviometer. This means that in this station, the pluviometer which is the last surviving equipment there is in the bush.
In Edea, the picture is a little different but still, the situation is pitiful. The inhabitants have transformed the fence to a clothes drying arena. At Nkoenvone in Ebolowa, it is worse. The sad state of the station has really affected the personnel so much so that they see in any visitor a saviour who comes for the resurrection of the station.
"The meteorology station was the flagship of the research centre. See what it looks like today. Everything has gone bad. If you can, do something to save it" said Mr Damien Eyenet, a former worker. For sure, he will cry less if he visits Ekona in the South west where the Met station is completely abandoned in the bush.
Nevertheless, there is one station to be proud of: The Met station at CARBAP, a banana research centre in Njombe, where the international standard of a Met station is fully observed and where we finally saw what a real Met station looks like. This means he who wants can have it.
In many African countries, weather report is given on television and radio stations several times a day by specialists and any one can use the information according to his needs.
But this is a luxury Cameroonians have not been able to afford for the past 20 years or so. This information has disappeared in the media. One would ask whether meteorology means anything to those children born in the last 30 years. So goes Cameroon!
We look forward to following weather report such as "tomorrow there will be cloudy sky in parts of the East, from Nanga Eboko to Yokadouma. The temperature will be 23°c in Ebolowa, 29°c in Touboro, 21°c in Njinikom. There will be winds in the north of the country..."