Thousands of people have sought refuge in Nigeria after fleeing the Anglophone regions of Cameroon due to new violence there, according to UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.
The UNHCR is collaborating with local authorities in Nigeria to “provide assistance to asylum and protection seekers from Cameroon, who have arrived in Southeastern Nigeria in the past month”.
“Thousands have fled to Nigeria following renewed violence in Anglophone parts of Cameroon earlier in October,” said UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch in a statement. “Together with the Nigerian authorities, we have registered some 2,000 people so far, with the help of our local partners in various locations in Southeastern Nigeria. An additional 3,000 are awaiting registration, while more people might be trapped in forests on the Cameroonian side as they attempt to cross the border”.
UNHCR, together with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), is distributing basic necessities in Nigeria’s Cross River State, on the border with Cameroon.
Assistance plan for 40,000 people
UNHCR/Nigeria teams are jointly visiting different locations to better assess the situation and register new arrivals. “We have also delivered relief items such as mattresses and blankets, mosquito nets, cooking utensils or hygiene kits, as well as 40 tons of food. UNHCR will continue the distribution of relief materials in several locations this week,” Baloch said.
“UNHCR is working with the Nigerian government and other UN agencies on a contingency plan, readying humanitarian assistance for up to 40,000 people crossing into Nigeria. Our fear, however, is that 40,000 might actually be a conservative figure in a situation where the conflict might continue,” he said.
Due to the Boko Haram insurgency, Nigeria and Cameroon are already facing one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world, “with 2.5 million people displaced in the Lake Chad region. The current influx of Cameroonians seeking refuge in Nigeria poses additional challenges to the international community and burden to an already stretched assistance”, Baloch said.