The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is appealing for urgent funding to cater for displaced Cameroonians largely concentrated in the twin Anglophone regions.
According to a recent statement from the outfit, out of 437,000 people currently displaced in the country, about 351,000 were in the Northwest and Southwest regions riled by secessionist violence.
“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.
“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,” the statement said.
UNHCR stressed that the most affected groups of people were women and children who are fleeing violence from state actors and secessionists. It has been over a year since the region started descent into chaos.
“Many of the displaced in Anglophone Cameroon 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.”