James Atiet, a 70-year-old Cameroonian refugee, lost one of his limbs while fleeing clashes between Ambazonian separatist fighters and the Cameroonian Army in Cameroon’s southwest region.
“I ran to the bush when I heard gunshots. After crossing a footpath, I started feeling pain in my legs. My leg was amputated while running from the war. I thought the war would only last for a while, and we would return home,” says James sadly.
For James, the certainty of returning home after four years now seems like a mirage.
The father of eight is a retired civil servant who fled to Nigeria in August 2018. With no access to his pension, he relies on farming and other support from his wife and children. James cultivates yam, cassava, and sweet potatoes in his backyard at the Adagom refugee settlement, established by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
“I am happy because I can save some money to celebrate Christmas with joy.”
With the generous contribution from Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, UNHCR is providing cash to more than 38,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria to enable them to purchase food of their choice. Over 86,000 Cameroonian refugees are registered in Nigeria, mainly in Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, and Taraba States (figures as of 31 October 2022). Most of them are women and children.
“Life is difficult here. Sometimes I borrow money to buy food because food and everything else is costly. We eat fish twice a month and meat once in two months. The money has been helping me a lot to buy food for my family,” James says.
“I thank God and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives for this support. May God bless them for their kindness. I am happy because I can save money to celebrate Christmas with joy. I can also buy Christmas clothes for my children,” he adds.