GENEVA - UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is appealing for nearly $60 million for tens of thousands of victims of intercommunal clashes over dwindling resources in Cameroon's Far North region.
The United Nations Refugee Agency Friday released an appeal for just under $60 million for support for those fleeing intercommunal violence in Cameroon's Far North region.
The appeal is aimed at helping UNHCR and its partners provide needed humanitarian aid for those displaced by the crisis during the next six months.
An ongoing dispute over diminishing water resources between herders on one side and fishermen and farmers on the other last month erupted into a violent confrontation. The U.N. refugee agency says 44 people were killed, more than 100 injured, and 112 villages burned to the ground.
In the space of two weeks, UNHCR spokesman Boris Cheshirkov said 100,000 people fled to neighboring Chad or elsewhere in Cameroon.
Cameroonians who fled deadly intercommunal violence between Arab Choa herders and Mousgoum and Massa farming communities queue to receive food at a temporarily refugee camp on the outskirts of Ndjamena, Chad, Dec. 13, 2021.
"This has become a severe crisis because of the climate emergency. And the surface waters of Lake Chad shrinking and the Logone river, which runs along the border between Cameroon and Chad. It demarks the border and this is where the tensions began,' he said.
This crisis follows a previous deadly encounter in August. Some 45 people reportedly were killed, dozens injured, and more than 30 villages set ablaze. An estimated 23,000 fled to Chad or elsewhere in Cameroon.
Cheshirkov said the appeal will provide critically needed relief over the next six months for both the displaced and those sheltering them in Chad and Cameroon.
Priority needs, he said include shelter, blankets, mats, and mosquito mats.
"The funds will also cover growing water, sanitation, and hygiene needs. Child protection, prevention, and response to gender-based violence, documentation, education-all of these are urgent priorities. We estimate that 9 out of 10 of the Cameroonian refugees that are now in Chad as a result of this crisis are women and children," he said.
Cheshirkov said the situation has calmed down in the last few weeks. He says security has been reinforced. He notes government-led reconciliation efforts, supported by the UNHCR are underway. He added urgent action is needed to address the root causes of the conflict.