YAOUNDE, Cameroon--Those seeking refuge from violence in the Central African Republic are turning to nearby Cameroon for sanctuary. Since December, around 85,000 displaced individuals have flooded the country. However, insufficient resources prevent it from being the safe haven they need.
Between April 14 and May 19, 29 children (infants to nine-year-olds) have died en route to Cameroon. The weeks-long journey from CAR is difficult and leaves many refugees severely malnourished. Some are already wounded due to CAR violence. Other conditions include hypothermia and dehydration.
Operations backed by the World Food Programme and the UN Refugee Agency are attempting to provide food, shelter and medical care, including vaccinations. The Regional Refugee Response Plan, which along with Cameroon also assists Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo in handling refugees is severely underfunded.
More than 2,000 refugees continue to trickle into Cameroon. The number is down from around 10,000 per week -- not because there are fewer refugees, but because main roads are now blocked by anti-balaka, Christian militants.
The flow of refugees coincides with the beginning of the rainy season. As well as causing a deterioration in housing conditions, this can also result in the spread of diseases.