This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today released a supplementary appeal seeking US$59.6 million to provide emergency support to 100,000 refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs), and host communities in Chad and Cameroon following intercommunal violence in Cameroon’s Far North Region.
The appeal will help UNHCR and its humanitarian and government partners provide vital protection and assistance to those displaced by the crisis, who have dire humanitarian needs, over the next six months.
The clashes started on 5 December 2021 in the border village of Ouloumsa in Far North Cameroon following a dispute between herders, fishermen and farmers over water resources that have been dwindling as a result of the climate crisis. Violence then spread to neighbouring villages, resulting in 44 people being killed, over 100 injured, and 112 villages burned to the ground.
In the space of two weeks, tens of thousands of people fled into neighbouring Chad or were displaced within Cameroon. The December clashes followed similar violence in August 2021 which displaced some 23,000 people across Cameroon and Chad.
UNHCR needs US$59.6 million for urgently needed shelter and core relief items, such as blankets, mats, and mosquito nets. Funds will also cover growing water, sanitation, and hygiene needs.
Child protection, prevention and response to gender-based violence, documentation, and education are also urgent priorities. UNHCR estimates that 9 out of 10 Cameroonian refugees in Chad are women and children.
UNHCR will continue to work with the authorities in leading peace and reconciliation efforts in the Far North region. However, urgent action is needed to address the root causes of the conflict.
With additional resources, UNHCR will also be able to expand registration, profiling, and protection monitoring activities in Cameroon and Chad, to better assess the needs of those affected by the crisis.
UNHCR is grateful to donors who have made the response possible up until now, particularly those that have provided flexible funding.
However, funds to support displaced people in Chad and Cameroon are now critically low and under severe pressure due to the rapidly rising needs. We are urgently appealing to the international community to mobilize the resources which will allow UNHCR and its partners to mount an effective and lifesaving response.
The link to the supplementary appeal can be found here: https://reporting.unhcr.org/document/1325