17-Dec-2021 00:02:10
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said intercommunal clashes that erupted in Cameroon’s Far North region in the past two weeks have driven at least 100,000 people from their homes, although the real number may be much higher. UNHCR
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1. Wide shot, refugees gathered
2. Wide shot, women walking
3. Wide shot, refugees gathered
4. Wide shot, refugees gathered
5. Tilt down, Saleh Abderrahman showing his wounds
6. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Saleh Abderrahman, Cameroonian refugee:
“I was injured in the head by a machete and in the back with knifes. After three days in the bush, I was able to cross the Logone River to reach the site of Oundouma.”
7. Wide shot, refugees gathered
8. Med shot, UNHCR staff registering refugees
9. Wide shot, refugees and medical staff
10. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Fane Tahir, Cameroonian refugee:
“Six people from my compound were killed, including my husband and one of my children. Our house was later burnt down.”
11. Close up, UNHCR staff attaching wristband for a refugee
12. Med shot, UNHCR staff registering refugees
13. Med shot, boys sitting together
14. SOUNDBITE (French) Barnabe Nambatingar, Protection Assistant, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“We attach a wristband to each individual so that we can distinguish them from the local population. We distribute hot meals, build latrines and have mobile clinics deployed to the sites for first aid.”
15. Wide shot, medical staffer calling for a refugee
16. Various shots, refugees in a mobile clinic
17. Wide shot, refugees cooking
18. Close up, registration card
19. Various shots, food aid
20. Close up, elderly man
21. Med shot, child
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said intercommunal clashes that erupted in Cameroon’s Far North region in the past two weeks have driven at least 100,000 people from their homes, although the real number may be much higher.

UNHCR said it estimates that more than 85,000 people have fled into neighbouring Chad in recent days, while at least 15,000 Cameroonians have been forced from home inside their country. Since humanitarian access in the area is very limited, these totals may be much higher.

Indications are that displacement into Chad has accelerated fast, as the total is nearly triple the figure reported last week, when 30,000 people had crossed the border seeking safety.

Casualties from the fighting have also risen to 44 people killed and 111 injured, compared to 22 dead and 30 wounded reported last week. In total, 112 villages were burned down.

The vast majority of new arrivals in Chad are children, and 98 percent of the adults are women. Some 48,000 have found refuge in 18 urban sites in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, and 37,000 people are scattered across 10 rural sites along Chad’s bank of the Logone River.

Along with the authorities, UNHCR, other UN agencies and humanitarian partners are rushing to deliver life-saving assistance. The Agency has declared a Level 2 emergency and is rapidly scaling its operations to assist affected people in Cameroon and new refugees in Chad.

UNHCR said refugees are in dire need of shelter, blankets, mats and hygienic kits. Some are being hosted by local communities, but most are still sleeping in the open and under trees.

UNHCR and Médecins Sans Frontières have deployed mobile clinics to most of the refugee sites. Medical screening is ongoing and patients in need are referred to national health care facilities. UNHCR, the Chadian Red Cross and the Agency of Social and Economic Development, a Chadian NGO, have been delivering hot meals at all refugee sites.

Additionally, UNHCR teams are assisting the Government to identify new hosting sites located further from the border to better protect refugees in line with international standards.

In Far North Cameroon, security forces have been deployed and disarmament operations are underway. While few incidents have been reported during the past week, tensions remain high.

UNHCR said it still cannot access Logone Birni rural district where the clashes started, due to insecurity. Its teams in the cities of Maroua and Kousseri are assessing the protection and humanitarian needs of people displaced inside the country. Many of the displaced reported difficulties finding safe water and have no access to latrines. The refugee agency said concerning hygiene issues are on the rise.

Clashes initially broke out on 5 December in the border village of Ouloumsa following a dispute between herders and fishermen and farmers over dwindling water resources. The climate crisis is exacerbating the competition for resources, especially water. The surface of Lake Chad has decreased by as much as 95 per cent in the past 60 years.

UNHCR and Cameroonian authorities had been leading reconciliation efforts, organizing a forum in early December, during which community representatives committed to end the violence. But without urgent action to address the root causes of the crisis, UNHCR said the situation could escalate further.

The Agency called for the support of the international community to assist the forcibly displaced and reiterated its call for reconciliation to end the violence so that people can return home safely.

Chad is home to nearly one million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) and Cameroon to more than 1.5 million refugees and IDPs.

Financial resources to respond to the situation in both countries remain critically low. UNHCR’s requirements for 2021 in Cameroon (USD 99.6 million) and Chad (USD 141 million) are only 52 per cent and 54 per cent funded respectively. UNHCR stressed that more support is urgently needed to respond to the new scale of the situation.
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