CAR refugees in Cameroon are receiving food and all basic supplies at their arrival in transit camps. (Copyright: WFP/Alexis Masciarelli)
A new wave of refugees from Central African Republic (CAR) has crossed the border to Cameroon after conflict broke out between the Séléka movement and the former Bozizé regime last year. The new refugees add to the nearly 88,000 CAR refugees already living in the Adamaoua and Eastern regions.
In Garoua-Boulaï, a small village bordering eastern CAR, local authorities have reported receiving around 3,000 new refugees during the past few weeks, and an additional 1,500 have been registered in the Adamaoua region. The refugees are fleeing conflict in CAR that escalated in December 2013.
Marie-Gisele, 18 years old and soon-to-be mother, left her home in eastern CAR and fled to Cameroon after the recent outbreaks in violence. “I was on my way home from a medical consultation when I was informed that rebels had attacked my village,” she said. “I had no choice but to leave all my belongings behind and flee to neighboring Cameroon.”
Upon her arrival, Marie-Gisele, like other refugees, was taken to a refugee transit site, where she was registered and provided with food and medical care. After a few days in the camp, she gave birth to a baby girl. “I’m very grateful for the help given to me upon my arrival in Cameroon,” she says. “I consistently have enough food to eat, and basic needs for me and my daughter have been ensured.”
WFP and the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) work hand in hand to provide basic needs for refugees as they continue to flow into the country. WFP recently distributed food rations consisting of cereals, pulses, oil and iodized salt to refugees that will last two months. Assistance to refugees will continue for new arrivals as well as for those that have been in the country since WFP first began distributing food at temporary camps in June 2013. “During the next distribution round we are expecting the number of refugees in the transit camp to have increased significantly,” says Sylvia Ngwa, WFP food aid monitor. “Efforts are now being taken to increase the quantity of food stuffs, but stocks in the warehouses are starting to run short.“
In the upcoming year, WFP plans to assist over 60,000 refugees from CAR through a recently-launched relief and recovery operation. Targeted beneficiaries will include new refugees living in camps as well as refugees scattered in villages along the CAR border that have been in the country for several years. Relief assistance is provided to the most vulnerable refugees through general food distributions and nutritional assistance to malnourished children and women. Recovery assistance is also provided to refugees living in Cameroon on a more long-term basis in order to increase their self-sufficiency.