This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR, the UN Refuge Agency, is stepping up its presence in south-eastern Nigeria, to provide life-saving support to thousands of people fleeing unrest in English-speaking areas of Cameroon.
Since tensions between security forces and pro-independence demonstrators in Cameroon’s restive Anglophone region intensified in October, joint UNHCR and government teams have registered some 7,204 arrivals in remote areas of Nigeria’s Cross River state. As they report, thousands more are awaiting registration.
Some 70 per cent of the registered asylum seekers come from the area of Akwaya in south-west Cameroon. Women and children in their majority, they are hosted by local communities near the border. But, as the unrest in Cameroon continues and more asylum seekers arrive, UNHCR is concerned that the local population’s capacity will soon be stretched to its limits.
Heavy wet season rains have worsened the state of the road network in the remote region, hampering efforts to deliver aid. UNHCR and partners distribute food, basic relief items and medical aid. UNHCR is also deploying more staff in the region and coordinates with partners, national and local authorities to ensure that the needs of all affected people are met.
Additional resources will be necessary to support the arrivals and reinforce UNHCR’s coordination and response efforts. Currently, UNHCR in Nigeria and partners have elaborated a contingency plan in the event of new arrivals.
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