11, November 2018
Tens of thousands of people who fled Cameroon’s separatist conflict will receive food aid next week after months of hiding in the forest with nothing to eat, the United Nations said.
About 437,000 people have fled their homes in Cameroon’s western English-speaking regions since late last year, when insurgents started fighting to break away from the majority French-speaking state.
But government restrictions and a lack of security on the ground have made it difficult for aid agencies to reach them, and a tense election last month halted humanitarian work for weeks, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
President Paul Biya was re-elected by a landslide on Oct. 7 to extend his 36-year rule, while the opposition claimed fraud.
The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) will deliver food to 50,000 people on Nov. 14 in the first major food drive, said WFP country representative Abdoulaye Balde.
“The problem is access,” Balde told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The United Nations delivered some non-food items over six months ago, but afterward struggled to get into the zone, he said.
“We didn’t know what there was there. We didn’t know where these people were.”
The government has organised several small-scale food distributions in recent months, but most people have yet to benefit, said Modibo Traore, head of OCHA in Cameroon.
Cameroon’s government spokesman and minister of territorial administration could not be reached for comment.
“The food situation in the coming months is going to deteriorate,” Traore told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Funds from external donors have been very, very limited. That’s preventing us from scaling up the response,” he said, adding that lengthy government clearance processes have also hampered aid delivery.
Many of the people are living outside, in need of shelter, medical supplies, and basic items such as soap, he said.
But several among them said hunger was the greatest concern.
Jenny, a 22-year-old who gave only her first name, is living with extended family in the outskirts of Douala after fleeing her village in the southwestern region when fighting broke out.
“Thanks to God, we are alive,” she said. “But we don’t eat.”
Now that you are here
The Cameroon Concord News Group Board wishes to inform its faithful readers that for more than a decade, it has been providing world-class reports of the situation in Southern Cameroons. The Board has been priding itself on its reports which have helped the world to gain a greater understanding of the crisis playing out in Southern Cameroons. It hails its reporters who have also helped the readers to have a broader perspective of the political situation in Cameroon.
The Board wishes to thank its readers who have continued to trust Southern Cameroon’s leading news platform. It is therefore using this opportunity to state that its reporters are willing to provide more quality information to the readers. However, due to the changing global financial context, the Board is urging its readers to play a significant role in the financing of the news organization. It is therefore calling on its faithful readers to make whatever financial contribution they can to ensure they get the latest developments in their native Southern Cameroons, in particular, and Cameroon in general.
Bank transaction: Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai
Banking IBAN: GB51 BARC 2049 1103 9130 15
Swift BIC BARC GB22XX
SORT CODE 20-49-11, ACCOUNT NUMBER – 03913015 Barclay PLC, UK
The Board looks forward to hearing from the readers.
Signed by the Group Chairman on behalf of the Board of Directors
Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai