The UN Refugee Agency and its partners on Monday called on donor nations for more than half-a-billion US dollars this year to help hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee conflicts in Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR) and the host communities providing them with shelter and other basic services.
The two Regional Refugee Response Plans (RRRP), presented at a donor briefing in Yaoundé, Cameroon, include $198.76 million for 230,000 Nigerian refugees and some 284,300 members of host communities in Niger, Chad and Cameroon as well as US$345.7 million for 476,300 CAR refugees and some 289,000 people hosting them in Chad, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Republic of Congo.
The RRRP in Nigeria and CAR cover needs in sectors such as protection, education, food security, health and nutrition, livelihoods, shelter, basic aid and water, hygiene and sanitation.
The Nigeria appeal is made by 28 organizations. UNHCR alone is seeking US$62.33 million under the Nigeria RRRP.
“These two humanitarian crises must not be forgotten; they are not going away. The suffering is great and the needs acute among both the displaced and host communities,” said Liz Ahua, UNHCR’s Regional Refugee Coordinator for the CAR and Nigeria situations.
Ahua said violence occurs on almost a daily basis in north-east Nigeria and CAR, generating fear and new displacement in the region, citing as examples suicide attacks, kidnapping, indiscriminate killings and massive human rights abuses.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we won’t see it unless there is a much stronger commitment from African governments and the international community to help re-establish stability and peace,” Ahua said, urging donors to give more generously. In 2015, the Nigerian RRRP received 52 per cent of its financial requirements whilst the Central African Republic RRRP received just 27 percent.
Despite important steps towards restoring peace in both north-east Nigeria and CAR, there were also reverses and continuing significant population displacement in 2015. In Nigeria, the government rolled back Boko Haram gains, but the insurgent group turned to terror tactics that spread into neighbouring countries.
The crises in Nigeria will continue to provide major challenges throughout 2016 in countries such as Cameroon, which provides sanctuary and assistance to refugees from Nigeria. For just this country, the appeals seek US$56.36 million to help 100,000 Nigerian refugees and 20,000 hosts in Cameroon.
Highlighting some of the needs, Ahua said: “We need funding to prevent malnutrition among children; to run schools, build up proper sanitation systems and provide clean water; and to make sure that families have shelter over their heads.”