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Government, Partners Dissect Refugee Situation

The fourth session of the inter-ministerial ad hoc committee on the management of emergency refugee situations held on Friday, September 5, 2014.

National and foreign bodies in charge of implementing the Head of State’s instructions on the sustainable management of the refugee crisis in Cameroon under the umbrella of the Inter-ministerial Ad hoc Committee on the Management of Emergency Situation of Refugees have resolved to intensify steps to redress the situation.

They met on Friday, September 5, 2014, in Yaounde for the fourth time in a session chaired by the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, René Emmanuel Sadi, who doubles as the President of the ad-hoc committee. He expressed concern at the huge humanitarian crisis in the country caused by the massive influx of refugees, but reiterated that Cameroon remains a land of hospitality. He added that with the support of national and foreign bodies, the challenges were gradually being overcome. Events in the Far North Region created by Boko Haram insurgents have worsened matters, with Cameroonians in villages on the Nigerian border fleeing into cities.

Startling Figures

It emerged that as at July 4, 2014, more than 20,000 more refugees had sought refuge in the country. The Director of Civil Protection in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Jean Pierre Nana, revealed that Cameroon now hosts over 235, 000 refugees from the Central African Republic, CAR, spread in five regions (Adamawa, East, Centre, Littoral and North). Over 126, 627 came in as from January 2014. More than 30, 000 Nigerian refugees are based in Adamawa, Far North, North West and South West Regions.

The country also finds itself battling with over 6,000 Cameroonian migrants airlifted from CAR as at January 2014. Cameroon is also host to over 17,000 migrants from Chad, Mali, Nigeria, Mauritania and other countries transiting the country. Jean Pierre Nana also disclosed that other 87, 000 CAR refugees were benefitting from humanitarian aid from local families and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in some 308 villages of the Adamawa and East Regions. Out of the 126,627 recorded in 2014, only 58, 000 are in camps.


Financing refugee management appears to be tough, with only 16 per cent of the over 111, 134, 636 US dollars (approximately FCFA 56 billion) in hand. Foreign partners regretted their inability to promptly dispatch humanitarian aid to refugees because of difficulties in clearing containers from the Douala Seaport due to overcrowding. But partners are confident that collective efforts will overcome all the challenges. The Coordinator of the UN System in Cameroon, Najat Rochdi, emphasized that, “We are not yet out of the emergency situation.”

Promised Support

If order reigns in refugee camps, it is largely because the support of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies has paid off. Development partners like the UN High Commission for Refugees, World Food Programme and the World Health Organisation, all under the UN System in Cameroon, the European Union, African Development Bank, International Immigration Organisation, have contributed immensely.

In the weeks ahead, more bore holes and food stuff will be ready for the vulnerable. Some of the over 10 donors present at Friday’s meeting will join efforts to execute some of the projects. Aid from the African Development Bank of over 1 million US Dollars (approximately FCFA 506 million) to help the population and refugees has been announced  while the Russian Federation has intends to support with 2 million US Dollars (approximately over FCFA 1 billion) as part of the response to the humanitarian crisis.

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