Over the past three years, the Lake Chad Basin has been the scene of conflicts between armed groups such as Boko Haram and government forces. This cross-border crisis has caused many people to move, particularly in the extreme north of Cameroon, where our teams have been deployed since January 2017.
The first water pump is 3 kilometres away
“At the end of 2014, Boko Haram attacked my village. The fighters came to kill the head of the village because we had repeatedly refused to let them enlist our children. Since the attack, I left my village and found refuge here.” Goni now survives in Fotokol, 10 km from his native village in the Far North of Cameroon.
This 65-year-old farmer, father of a family of 15, has lost everything: his house, his land, his crops… He now survives only on the meagre harvests of sorghum and maize that he has managed to grow on the poor, dry land that was given to him by the generous village chief. “My crop is too poor to provide for the family. Nothing grows on this earth. For the moment, my wife and children are collecting firewood behind the site to sell it at the Fotokol market. This meagre cash flow allows us to buy some food. A day of wood collection can bring back about 600 Naira (barely 1 €).”
An adapted response
At the site where he and 500 other people have moved in, there is no water, no toilets and his children have to go to the pump to fetch water 3 km away. “It’s not free, you have to pay up to 20 Naïra for a simple 20-litre can sometimes,” says Goni.
“The situation of displaced persons and refugees in the Logone et Chari department is very worrying. Most of them are welcomed into families. Despite the assistance given by the Cameroonian government and the humanitarian community, mainly the World Food Programme, a very large part of the needs remain unmet,” says Nadjlem Mayade, field coordinator of the Makary base in the Far North of Cameroon. The lack of drinking water, shelter and food, especially among the youngest and oldest, creates significant risks of diseases, especially diarrhoea.
In response to this situation, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s field teams implement activities aimed at an effective and adapted response. “We rehabilitate damaged water points, disinfect boreholes, revitalize water point management committees and accompany these initiatives with hygiene awareness and information sessions. At the same time, we distribute hygiene kits (bottle, goblet, soap, bucket, etc.) and build latrines to respond to the need of the displaced families.”
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