by James Sambo
With over 75 000 people displaced in the battle against insurgents in NorthEast and NorthCentral Nigeria, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on donors to fund urgent operations refugees fleeing from insurgents into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
The UNHCR and its 16 partners said that $34million is needed to provide protection and life-saving aid to people who have fled from unrest zones in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
The agency said in a statement on Tuesday, that the fund will also cater for the needs of thousands more expected to arrive in the three neighbouring countries by year’s end.
“The Nigeria Refugee Response Plan, presented to donors on Tuesday, covers the most immediate protection and assistance needs of up to 95,000 people fleeing Nigeria until the end of the year. Given the upsurge in violence, these numbers will probably need to be revised upwards,” The spokesperson for the agency, Babar Baloch said.
More than 11,000 refugees have crossed into Cameroon and Chad in August. Some 15,000 people have arrived in Niger’s Diffa region since the beginning of August, many of whom have settled on the islands of Lake Chad. Cameroon is hosting some 43,700 Nigerian refugees, according to authorities, including 26,753 refugees who have been registered by the UNHCR.
Baloch noted that the displaced were seeking accommodation in local villages and this put pressure on the host communities, an issue which the UNHCR is focused on solving; as it will also provide shelter assistance and domestic items to displaced people with special needs.
The UNHCR appealed for an additional $5.5m for these activities.
Meanwhile, Baloch said that in a bid to better protect the nearly 650,000 internally displaced people in six north-eastern states in Nigeria, UNHCR was helping to set up a protection monitoring system that will allow the agency to identify and profile protection problems, followed by an adequate response.