The United Nations Refugee Agency has appealed for support from donors to help over half a million displaced Cameroonians who have survived over a year of ongoing violence in different parts of the country.
During a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said the organisation needs US$184 million for its operations in Cameroon(for internally displaced persons) and Nigeria (refugees).
Below is a statement from the UNHCR spokesperson from yesterday’s press briefing;
“UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today asking donors for stepped up support for half a million displaced Cameroonians who have survived over a year of ongoing violence in different parts of the country.
Violent clashes in Cameroon between the military and armed separatists over the past thirteen months have forcibly displaced thousands, including across the border into Nigeria.
The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. And there are fears now that more people will become displaced over the coming months.
According to UN estimates more than 437,000 people are currently displaced in Cameroon, 246,000 of them in the Southwest Region, 105,000 in the Northwest Region, and 86,000 in the Littoral and West Regions.
Most of these are women and children. And people who become displaced face grave situations whether in Cameroon or Nigeria. Having fled with very little, they are arriving in impoverished host communities where food supplies are strained and with few facilities for health, education, water and sanitation.
As well as causing internal displacement in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon, the deadly conflict has also forced over 35,000 Cameroonians to seek asylum in Nigeria. With the fighting continuing, this number is expected to rise.
UNHCR now requires US$184 million for its operations in Cameroon and Nigeria – including US$35.4 million needed urgently for critical life-saving assistance.
In February, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon launched the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) that includes the situation in the South and North West regions. UNHCR activities and related funding requirements for this program in Cameroon are part of the HRP. UNHCR advocates for international support to the plan.
Inside Cameroon, many of the displaced in the Southwest and Northwest Regions are living in overcrowded conditions, without proper shelter or health and sanitation support.
Underfunding and insecurity have restricted protection and assistance activities to affected populations. The safety of women, children, unaccompanied and separated minors, people with disabilities, and lactating and pregnant women are of deep concern to us in light of increased protection incidents and the severe underfunding. The most frequently reported security incidents include destruction of homes and other domestic properties, extortion, torture and inhumane treatment including rape, sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
In Nigeria, refugees are currently being hosted in settlements, and more than 47 villages along the border. There is significant pressure on existing social services, and facilities for health and education. Refugees in settlements are depending on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.