The United Nations refugee agency on Thursday revealed that nearly 60,000 displaced Cameroonians are currently in Nigeria, with this number expected to rise based on new arrival information.
In the last two weeks, nearly 8,000 Cameroonian refugees have fled to eastern and southern regions in Nigeria as violence rocks the country.
This latest influx came just before Cameroon’s general elections last weekend as people fled ongoing violence between security forces and armed groups – embarking on the dangerous journey across the savannah and forests with their families to get to safety.
According to Roger Hollo, UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Nigeria, the agency in collaboration with the Nigerian authority is working closely to ensure that refugees have access to shelter and basic services without dumping responsibilities on the host communities.
The agency said it set up four settlements where UNHCR and humanitarian partners are providing protection, food, livelihood, shelter and healthcare for 51,000 registered refugees that just arrived in Nigeria.
“Refugees also need support to become self-reliant. With access to education, health services and labour markets, they can take care of their families and give back to the local communities hosting them,” he said.
The agency said that food, shelter and health assistance remain urgent needs for new arrivals. Schools are also unable to accommodate all newly arrived refugee children, with some classrooms hosting more than 200 children at a time.
Meanwhile, with the help of local communities and government, shelter and access to basic facilities are also been provided in public schools and health facilities or with local families across 87 local communities in Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, and Taraba states.
According to UN estimates, more than 679,000 people are currently internally displaced in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest regions, in addition to the almost 60,000 that have crossed the border, seeking asylum in Nigeria.