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Over 30,000 Cameroonian refugees fleeing violence are currently seeking refuge in Nigeria, UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has said.

According to Babar Baloch, a spokesperson for UNHCR, the needs on the ground to cater for the refugees in Nigeria were outpacing donor efforts.

He said the situation was particularly worrying for women and children, accounting for close to 80 percent of arrivals, saying most of the refugees are sheltering in Nigeria’s southeastern areas, hosted by local communities.

Baloch said reports indicated that scores of people had been killed in English-speaking areas of Cameroon and thousands forced from their homes, including many who have sought refuge in Nigeria.

According to Nigeria Politics, an online platform, the UNHCR boss said the refugee agency was facilitating voluntary relocation of refugees to settlements in Cross River and Benue provinces, which provide better security, shelter and access to essential services.

“Currently, more than 9,000 Cameroonian refugees have been moved to new settlements, where they receive food as well as essential items such as mattresses, mosquito nets, stoves and cooking utensils, as well as equipment to build shelters,” Baloch said.

The UNHCR spokesperson added that women and girls were also being provided with dignity kits, including among other items, buckets, soap and towels.

In some instances, cash assistance is provided to enable refugees buy food directly from the markets in host communities, helping facilitate the integration of those forced to flee and those welcoming them, he stated.

“However, despite the work of UNHCR and other aid organizations, the needs are far from being met and there are several challenges, including education opportunities for refugee children.

“The rainy season and harsh road conditions to remote areas make the assistance to the refugees outside of the newly-developed settlement very difficult, with acute needs for food, shelter, water and sanitation,” he said.

Baloch explained that discussions were ongoing with the Government for improved access to the displaced population.

Source: independent.ng

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About 437,000 people have fled their homes in Cameroon’s western English-speaking regions since late last year

Tens of thousands of people who fled Cameroon’s separatist conflict will receive food aid next week after months of hiding in the forest with nothing to eat, the United Nations said.

About 437,000 people have fled their homes in Cameroon’s western English-speaking regions since late last year, when insurgents started fighting to break away from the majority French-speaking state.

But government restrictions and a lack of security on the ground have made it difficult for aid agencies to reach them, and a tense election last month halted humanitarian work for weeks, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

President Paul Biya was re-elected by a landslide on Oct. 7 to extend his 36-year rule, while the opposition claimed fraud.

The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) will deliver food to 50,000 people on Nov. 14 in the first major food drive, said WFP country representative Abdoulaye Balde.

“The problem is access,” Balde told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The United Nations delivered some non-food items over six months ago, but afterward struggled to get into the zone, he said.

“We didn’t know what there was there. We didn’t know where these people were.”

The government has organised several small-scale food distributions in recent months, but most people have yet to benefit, said Modibo Traore, head of OCHA in Cameroon.

Cameroon’s government spokesman and minister of territorial administration could not be reached for comment.

“The food situation in the coming months is going to deteriorate,” Traore told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Funds from external donors have been very, very limited. That’s preventing us from scaling up the response,” he said, adding that lengthy government clearance processes have also hampered aid delivery.

Many of the people are living outside, in need of shelter, medical supplies, and basic items such as soap, he said.

But several among them said hunger was the greatest concern.

Jenny, a 22-year-old who gave only her first name, is living with extended family in the outskirts of Douala after fleeing her village in the southwestern region when fighting broke out.

“Thanks to God, we are alive,” she said. “But we don’t eat.”

Author: Josiane Kouagheu | Thomson Reuters Foundation

Source: reliefweb.int

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The united nations high commissioner for refugees, UNHCR says it will be collaborating with the cross rivers state government to begin relocation of Cameroon refugees living in host communities to a more permanent settlement.

The settlement located in Adagom community in ogoja local government area of cross rivers state with a capacity to accommodate four thousand refugees is expected to provide the refugees a safe heaven away from the crisis area.

Adagom settlement is where over four thousand of the twenty-five thousand Cameroon refugees in cross river state have been relocated, from the host communities where they had lived for the past ten months… Elias Enu, Lovelyn Etta And Eyon Sheba are among the refugees.

They narrate their ordeals after losing everything they had in Cameroon when the crisis erupted

With thousands of refugees still in host communities spread across eight local government areas of cross river state, south Nigeria  and the influx of more refugees expected from Cameroon, there is a need for more support from humanitarian actors to augment the efforts of the united nations humanitarian commission for refugees and the cross rivers state government

These refugees are hopeful that more help will come especially in the area of education for their children and opportunities for better means of livelihood to feed their families.

Source: AIT

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Local authorities in Southwest, one of the two crisis-hit English-speaking regions of Cameroon, on Saturday stopped families from relocating to French-speaking side of the country.

“We are not stopping them from traveling but those who are about leaving their homes you can see luggage here including furniture, beds. Where are they going? We want them to stay at home. The security and defense forces will guarantee their security,” the region’s governor, Bernard Okalia Bilia, told reporters after intercepting luggage-bearing buses from traveling.

The governor’s decision was taken after people began departing from the troubled region in large numbers following threats from armed separatist forces that circulation of vehicles will be stopped ahead of the Oct. 7 presidential poll.

The separatists have threatened to disrupt the election but Bilia said adequate measures have been taken to ensure a hitch-free vote.

Since November last year, government forces have been clashing with armed separatists in the Northwest and Southwest, the two Anglophone regions of the country where about 80 percent of the population are native in French.

The armed separatist forces have declared an independent state in the two regions called “Ambazonia.”

According to the United Nations, over 180,000 people have been displaced internally and at least 30,000 have escaped to Nigeria where they now live in refugee camps.

Source: CGTN Africa

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