In December 2017, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) increased provisions to save lives and support the thousands fleeing into Southern Nigeria from areas of unrest in Cameroon
In December 2017, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) increased provisions to save lives and support the thousands fleeing into Southern Nigeria from areas of unrest in Cameroon.
The agency and its partners have been distributing food, medical aid and basic relief items, as well deploying more staff to coordinate with local and national authorities and ensure the needs of affected people in the region are being met.
A heavy wet season had worsened the state of the remote region’s road network and hampered previous aid efforts.
According to the UNHCR, 7,204 arrivals were registered in December 2017, with some 70% of asylum seekers coming from the area of Akwaya in South-West Cameroon.
Thousands more await registration, which will stretch the local population’s capacity to its limits, said an agency spokesman in a press release.
The majority are women and children who are being hosted by local communities near the border.
Tensions between pro-independence demonstrators and security forces in Cameroon’s Anglophone region intensified in October 2017 and led to more asylum seekers arriving in remote areas of Nigeria’s Cross River state.
Similarly, the number of South Sudanese refugees fleeing into Uganda exceeded 1 million by September, 2017.
In the last year, an average of 1,800 refugees have arrived in Uganda every day, escaping the food crisis and civil war in South Sudan, which has seized the country since 2013.
More than 85% are women and children, many of who have witnessed barbaric violence, been recruited by armed groups of been subjected to sexual abuse.
Plan International has been responding to the refugee influx since 2014 and has recently developed a 3-year response plan to support the peaceful co-existence of host and refugee communities, as well improving access to social services and assisting refugees to become self-sufficient.
The organisation has provided over 35,000 refugees with water and sanitation programmes, critical aid items, early childhood care and child protection services.
It has set up a number of pre-school centres where young children can learn and play, as well as providing them with emotional support and protection.
Uganda signed the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants in 2016 and committed to providing a comprehensive response to refugee crises.
With thousands of refugees arriving daily into the country, however, the amount of aid available is falling increasingly short.
The country requires around US$683 million to effectively respond to the crisis, of which only 21% had been received as of September 2017.
Country Director for Plan International Uganda Rashid Javed said: “Critical gaps exist in food, water, sanitation, education, early childhood services, gender-based violence and youth skills, to name just a few.
“The protracted refugee crisis demands that all key stakeholders coordinate and align their efforts to ensure that the needs of all refugees and host communities are met.”