Updated: February 26, 2021
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, says it needs about $184 million to support victims of the Anglophone crisis in Nigeria and Cameroon.
The body made an urgent appeal for funds to aid ‘dying’ victims of the armed conflict plaguing the North West and South West regions of Cameroon during a press briefing on Tuesday, March 26 in Geneva.
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UNHCR spokesperson, Baba Baloch said, “the UN Refugee Agency is today asking donors for stepped up support for half a million displaced Cameroonians who have survived from the on-going armed conflicts in Cameroon”. 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”.
The agency observed that 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”.
At the press briefing, the UNHCR spokesperson reiterated that “violent clashes in Cameroon between the military and separatist fighters over the past years have forcibly displaced thousands of persons living under deplorable conditions”.
“The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate”, the spokesperson said, adding that there are fears that more people will “become displaced as time wines on.”
According to UN’s estimates, more than 437,000 people are currently displaced in Cameroon, 246,000 of them in the South West region, 105,000 in the North West region, and 86,000 in the Littoral and West regions with the most affected being women and children.
Demonstrating the pains felt by these thousands of displaced persons, the spokesperson said, “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.”
“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” he added.
As the conflict persists in Cameroon, UNHCR anticipates that the influx into Southeast Nigeria will continue, with 20,000 refugees projected to flee in the coming months. This would result in an increase in the overall number of Cameroonian refugees to more than 50,000 by the end of 2019.