GENEVA / CAMEROON VIOLENCE CLIMATE CHANGE

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10-Dec-2021 00:02:42
A flare-up in intercommunal fighting in northern Cameroon has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and brought a halt to aid operations there, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / CAMEROON VIOLENCE CLIMATE CHANGE
TRT: 2:42
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 10 DECEMBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

10 DECEMBER 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior
2. Wide shot, speakers, participants in press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Boris Cheshirkov, spokesperson, United Nations High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply concerned by renewed intercommunal clashes that erupted this week in Cameroon’s Far North region, displacing thousands inside the country and forcing more than 30,000 people to flee to neighbouring Chad. Since Sunday 5 December, at least 22 people have been killed and 30 others seriously injured during several days of ongoing fighting.”
4. Wide shot, speakers at dais
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Boris Cheshirkov, spokesperson, United Nations High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“On 8 December, fighting broke out in the Cameroonian city of Kousseri – this is a commercial hub with some 200,000 inhabitants. Kousseri’s cattle market was destroyed in the fighting. At least 10,000 people have fled Kousseri to Chad’s capital, N’djamena, located a few kilometres across the Chari and Logone rivers, which mark the border with Cameroon.”
6. Wide shot, dais with speakers, empty seating, TV screens displaying speakers
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Boris Cheshirkov, spokesperson, United Nations High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“Chad has reaffirmed its hospitality towards the new arrivals, and the authorities there, together with UNHCR, other UN agencies and humanitarian partners, are rushing to support the Cameroonian refugees with emergency shelter and assistance.”
8. Med shot, UNTV technician, masked, working on laptop
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Boris Cheshirkov, spokesperson, United Nations High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“Security forces have been dispatched to Far North Cameroon, but the situation does remain volatile. We have been forced to suspend its operations in the affected areas.”
10. Wide shot, dais with speakers
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Boris Cheshirkov, spokesperson, United Nations High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“What we see is intercommunal tension between the farmers and the fishermen from one side, and these are Masa and Musgum fishermen and farmers, and then the Arab Choa herders. And the main reason that this tension has been breaking and getting worse is climate change, because that they depend on the waters of the Logone river, which is one of main tributaries of Lake Chad. Lake Chad has been shrinking over six decades now, it has lost 95 per cent of its surface water.”
12. Med shot, journalist, masked
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Boris Cheshirkov, spokesperson, United Nations High commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“The climate crisis is a human crisis; we’re seeing it in the Sahel, we’re seeing it in Far North Cameroon, we’re seeing it in East Africa, in the dry corridor of Latin America, we’re seeing it in South Asia, so many parts of the world where we have displaced communities. In fact, 90 per cent of refugees are coming from climate vulnerable hotspots.”
14. Various shots, speakers at dais

STORYLINE:

A flare-up in intercommunal fighting in northern Cameroon has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and brought a halt to aid operations there, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Friday.

The development is just the latest episode in the difficult relationship between the region’s herders, fishermen and farmers, who have seen the waters of Lake Chad shrink dramatically, because of climate change.

In Geneva, UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov explained that clashes had broken out in recent days in the village of Ouloumsa, following a dispute over dwindling water resources.

The violence then spread to neighbouring villages, leaving 10 villages burned to the ground.

“UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply concerned by renewed intercommunal clashes that erupted this week in Cameroon’s Far North region, displacing thousands inside the country and forcing more than 30,000 people to flee to neighbouring Chad,” Cheshirkov said. “Since Sunday 5 December, at least 22 people have been killed and 30 others seriously injured during several days of ongoing fighting.”

Fighting then erupted three days later, on 8 December, in the Cameroonian city of Kousseri, a commercial hub with 200,000 inhabitants, according to UNHCR.

In addition to the destruction of the cattle market, Cheshirkov noted that “at least 10,000 people fled Kousseri to Chad’s capital, N’djamena…only a few kilometres across the Chari and Logone rivers, which mark the border with Cameroon.”

The UNHCR official noted that eight in 10 of the new arrivals were women – many of whom are pregnant – and children.

The UN agency also welcomed Chad’s hospitality towards the new arrivals, even though it is already home to close to a million refugees and internally displaced people.

In partnership with the authorities, Cheshirkov said that UN agencies and partners were “rushing to support the Cameroonian refugees with emergency shelter and assistance.”

In Cameroon’s Far North, although security forces have been dispatched to the affected areas, the UNHCR spokesperson noted that the situation remained “volatile”, forcing UNHCR to suspend its operations there.

In August, the agency reported an initial outbreak of intercommunal violence in Cameroon that left 45 people dead and 23,000 forcibly displaced, 8,500 of whom have remained in Chad.

In addition to providing immediate emergency aid, UNHCR and the authorities have been leading reconciliation efforts in Kousseri since last week.

This has resulted in representatives of communities committing to put an end to the violence. “But without urgent action to address the root causes of the crisis, the situation could escalate further,” Cheshirkov maintained.

“What we see is intercommunal tension between the farmers and the fishermen from one side, and these are Masa and Musgum fishermen and farmers, and then the Arab Choa herders. And the main reason that this tension has been breaking and getting worse is climate change, because that they depend on the waters of the Logone river, which is one of main tributaries of Lake Chad. Lake Chad has been shrinking over six decades now, it has lost 95 per cent of its surface water.”

So far this year, UNHCR’s funding appeal to help the most vulnerable people in Chad and Cameroon are only around 50 per cent funded.

Over and above the 99.6 million USD required for operations in Cameroon and the 141 million USD for Chad, UNHCR appealed to the international community for much greater support to help developing countries adapt to the kind of climate shocks that is behind the crises that the agency is increasingly responding to.

Needs are particularly acute in the nearby Sahel region, where countries including Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso are experiencing climate change-induced temperature rises that are 1.5 times faster than the global average, Cheshirkov explained.

He said, “The climate crisis is a human crisis; we’re seeing it in the Sahel, we’re seeing it in Far North Cameroon, we’re seeing it in East Africa, in the dry corridor of Latin America, we’re seeing it in South Asia, so many parts of the world where we have displaced communities. In fact, 90 per cent of refugees are coming from climate vulnerable hotspots.”
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