“The journey was so hard. The sun was very hot and we had trouble finding food and water. Our uncle decided to turn back but we continued on because we wanted to go to school.”
Ndjinda, Cameroonian refugee woman who fled into South Africa
This is a forgotten humanitarian emergency, yet the situation in the Lake Chad Basin and broader Sahel region is very complex and difficult. The surface of Lake Chad has decreased by as much as 95% in the past 60 years, as a result of climate crisis. Since December 2021, clashes over diminishing water resources broke out between herders, farmers and fishermen in Cameroon’s Far North region, the second major outbreak of violence within four months.
The situation rapidly deteriorated: 112 villages were burned, over 100 people were wounded, and 44 died. This wave of violence forced hundreds of thousands to flee into neighbouring Chad. 98% of the newly arrived forcibly displaced people are children, women – including many who are pregnant – and the elderly. Some are even arriving wounded and in in urgent need of support.
Chad is already home to close to a million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). Local communities are already very stretched.
In Cameroon, displaced people are sleeping in the open air and without latrines: there is an urgent need for shelter, basic relief items, and access to clean water to help protect people against disease.
What is UNHCR doing to help?
In Chad, we work with our partners on life-saving assistance, protection delivery and identification of persons with specific needs. Life-saving activities included the provision of health care and the distribution of hundreds of thousands hot meals, before World Food Programme took over responsibility for food distribution. In addition, two newly developed sites with a combined capacity to host tens of thousands of refugees were set up. 1,075 emergency shelters built with distribution of blankets, kitchen sets, mats to refugee families. We and our partners are continuing to carry out protection interventions, operate mobile health clinics, and provide assistance including core relief items and food.
In Cameroon, we are coordinating the Protection, Shelter, Core Relief Items, Camp Coordination and Cap Management clusters in partnership with other stakeholders. We also built emergency community shelters with a capacity of over a thousand of individuals. One of the sites for internal displaced persons in Domayo is managed under the leadership of UNHCR. Solar lamps and tablets were given to children to help them pursue their education while displaced.
How can you help?
$1,550 to provide water containers for 100 families
$2,480 to provide blankets for 80 refugees
$3,576 to provide a waterproof tent for a family of five