CAMEROON / CLIMATE CHANGE FUELED CONFLICTS

Preview Language:   Original
12-Nov-2021 00:01:45
Relations between Choa Arab herders and Musgum fishermen and farmers have deteriorated as rains diminish on the Logone-Birni floodplain, drying up the rivers and seasonal ponds both groups rely on for their livelihoods. UNHCR

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STORY: CAMEROON / CLIMATE CHANGE FUELED CONFLICTS
TRT: 1:45
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: FRENCH / BAGGARA ARABIC / ARABIC / NATS

DATELINE: 05 OCTOBER 2021, MISSISKA, CAMEROON / 19 OCTOBER 2021, OUNDOUMA, CHAD

SHOTLIST:

05 OCTOBER 2021, MISSISKA, CAMEROON

1. Aerial shot, trenches trenches dug by the Musgum fishing community
2. Wide shot, woman and children at the pump
3. Aerial shot, trenches dug by the Musgum fishing community
4. Aerial shot, herds of cattle in Damza village
5. Med shot, cattle in Damza
6. Aerial shot, village of Missiska
7. SOUNDBITE (French) Robert Mati, Missika villager:
“Arabs came to fill the holes we had dug. In fact, they wanted us to fill the holes the very same day. If we didn’t do it, we were dead, they said.”
8. Aerial shot, fishing community destroyed
9. Aerial shot, village of Damza
10. Wide shots, Damza’s villagers
11. SOUNDBITE (Baggara Arabic) Issa Mahmat, Demza villager:
“Currently, everyone is afraid, at night when you are in bed, there is no sleep, some sleep outside.”

19 OCTOBER 2021, OUNDOUMA, CHAD

12. Aerial shot, Logone river on the border between Cameroon and Chad
13. Various shots, humanitarian workers and Cameroonian refugees in Oundounma
14. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Assiam Yere, Cameroonian refugee:
“The rains are very scarce. I don't know the cause of climate change but we have to adapt and retain fish during the dry season. The product of our crops is really not enough.”
15. Wide shot, Logone river on the border between Cameroon and Chad
16. Med shot, pirogue on the sand with fisherman
17. Wide shot, pirogue on the river with two fishermen

STORYLINE:

Relations between Choa Arab herders and Musgum fishermen and farmers have deteriorated as rains diminish on the Logone-Birni floodplain, drying up the rivers and seasonal ponds both groups rely on for their livelihoods.

The Musgum have responded by digging vast basins to retain water –and fish – in the dry season. The less water there is, the more they have to dig.

But these pools, though necessary to the Musgum, create death traps for cattle belonging to the Choa Arab herders. The animals slide down the steep slopes, break their legs and sometimes drown.

SOUNDBITE (French) Robert Mati, Missika villager:
“Arabs came to fill the holes we had dug. In fact, they wanted us to fill the holes the very same day. If we didn’t do it, we were dead, they said.”

It was one of these drownings that triggered the attack on Missiska in August. Ensuing clashes between herders and fishermen left 45 people dead and 74 injured. Nineteen villages were burnt down and more than 23,000 people were forced to flee.

SOUNDBITE (Baggara Arabic) Issa Mahmat, Demza villager:
“Currently, everyone is afraid, at night when you are in bed, there is no sleep, some sleep outside.”

Thousands fled across the Logone river to Chad. Two months later, some 8,800 have been registered as refugees by UNHCR.

Over 12,000 people fled within the country. They have since returned home, although many of them say they do not sleep soundly.

For now, a precarious calm prevails in Cameroon’s Far North.

Cameroonian authorities have organized several meetings between the leaders of the two communities, who signed an informal peace agreement. UNHCR said it will soon hold a peace forum which will bring together as many members of both communities as possible.

The Sahel region has been hit hard by climate change. Temperatures are rising 1.5 times faster than the global average and the UN estimates that 80 percent of farmland is degraded. Over the past 60 years, the surface of Lake Chad, of which the Logone River is one of the main tributaries, has decreased by as much as 95 percent.

Fifty five-year-old Assiam Yere fled to Chad but is reluctant to go back to her home in Cameroon. On top of her security concerns, the poor yield from her land is another reason why she is postponing her return.

SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Assiam Yere, Cameroonian refugee:
“The rains are very scarce. I don't know the cause of climate change but we have to adapt and retain fish during the dry season. The product of our crops is really not enough.”

Most refugees here share her fears - that they will go hungry if they go home. Climate change is both the root cause of displacement and a key factor preventing people from returning.
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Geographic Subjects
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UNHCR
Alternate Title
unifeed211112c
Asset ID
2685191