UNHCR steps up support to Cameroonians fleeing to Nigeria

Geneva, Switzerland (PANA) - UNHCR, the UN Refuge Agency, is stepping up its presence in south-eastern Nigeria, to provide life-saving support to thousands of people fleeing unrest in English-speaking areas of Cameroon.

Since tensions between security forces and pro-independence demonstrators in Cameroon’s restive Anglophone region intensified in October, joint UNHCR and government teams have registered some 7,204 arrivals in remote areas of Nigeria’s Cross River state. As they report, thousands more are awaiting registration.

UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said in Geneva on Tuesday that some 70 per cent of the registered asylum seekers come from the area of Akwaya in south-west Cameroon.

Women and children in their majority, they are hosted by local communities near the border. But, as the unrest in Cameroon continues and more asylum seekers arrive, UNHCR is concerned that the local population’s capacity will soon be stretched to its limits.

Mahecic said heavy wet season rains have worsened the state of the road network in the remote region, hampering efforts to deliver aid. UNHCR and partners distribute food, basic relief items and medical aid. UNHCR is also deploying more staff in the region and coordinates with partners, national and local authorities to ensure that the needs of all affected people are met.

UNHCR said additional resources would be necessary to support the arrivals and reinforce its coordination and response efforts. Currently, UNHCR in Nigeria and partners have elaborated a contingency plan in the event of new arrivals.
-0- PANA MA 20Dec2017

20 december 2017 06:49:44

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