Cameroon’s scarce resources trigger deadly clashes and massive displacement

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The UN refugee agency says inter-community fighting over scarce resources in Cameroon has triggered the mass exodus of more than 30,000 refugees to neighboring Chad.

Deadly clashes erupted on December 5 in the Cameroonian border village of Ouloumsa following a dispute between herders, fishermen and farmers over the depletion of water resources. The violence then spread to neighboring villages, where inter-communal rivals set fire to 10 villages.

The UN refugee agency says 22 people have been killed and 30 seriously injured in the past six days. In addition, women and children make up most of the 30,000 refugees who have fled to Chad.

Plates of food are brought to Cameroonian refugees who gather in N’djamena, Chad on December 10, 2021.

UNHCR spokesman Boris Cheshirkov said the situation remains volatile, forcing his agency to temporarily suspend operations in the affected areas. He says five staff members, as well as colleagues who participated in an assessment mission, have been transferred to the Chadian capital, N’Djamena.

Cheshirkov attributes growing tensions between inter-communal farmers and fishermen to climate change, which he says is worsening.

“They depend on the waters of the Logone River, which is one of the main tributaries of Lake Chad,” he said. “Lake Chad is shrinking. In six decades now, it has lost 95 percent of its surface water. These communities depend on this water to live, fish, cultivate and cultivate, and take care of their livestock. . They can’t do that. ”

Cheshirkov says similar climate crises can be seen in many parts of the world – in the Sahel, in the far north of Cameroon and in East Africa, as well as in the drought corridor of Latin America and the ‘South Asia. He says 90 percent of refugees come from climate-vulnerable hotspots.

UNHCR and Cameroonian authorities have led reconciliation efforts to end intercommunal violence, he said, adding that the situation could escalate if the root causes of the crisis are not addressed.

Chad is home to nearly one million refugees and internally displaced people, and Cameroon has more than 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced people. UNHCR says it has received just over half the money it needs to carry out its rescue operations in the two countries. He appealed to the international community for more support.


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