5 February 2013

Cameroon: Nyos Survivors - Government Provides Fees, Uniforms and Food

Photo: Monde Kingsley Nfor/IPS
Descendants of victims of the Lake Nyos poisonous gas explosion.

Twenty six years after the killer lake Nyos disaster, survivors are still in dire need, impatiently waiting for the degassing process end so as to retire to the land of their ancestors. It was against this backdrop that the government went encouraging them on February 4, 2013 with gifts and messages of hope.

In effect North West Governor, Adolphe Lele Lafrique and the Director of Civil Protection in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, Dr. Nana Jean Pierre were in the Ukpwa camp in the neighbourhood of Wum, Menchum Division with much to offer the survivors, spread in the five Camps of Ukpwa, Ipali, Esu, Kumfutu,Funggom etc. Among the lot, some 94 families with 164 school going children received five cows, bags of rice, beans, salt, cartons of savon, vegetable oil, pushing trucks, wheel barrows, watering cans, hoes, cutlasses, bags of fertilizer, mattresses, blankets, plastic buckets, cups, school bags, exercise books, school readers etc.

Away from that, Governor Adolphe Lele Lafrique revealed that the government had disbursed cash to settle school fees for some 50 students, FCFA 1,620,000 for some 162 pupils, and about one million for transportation and psychological follow up of others. In one lump sum, it emerged from the event that the Lake Nyos survivors were the privileged first to benefit from the special fund recently created by President Biya to handle disasters and their victims. The humanitarian emergency gifts according to governor Adolphe Lele Lafrique is a demonstration of President Biya's commitment to ensure the economic sustainability of survivors and guarantee the future of their children. He reassured the survivors that work is on course in the Lake to guarantee its safety for survivors to return to their area of origin. The take home message was that the government is the friend and partner of the survivors for livelihood, progress and development.

Speaking for the survivors, Abubakar Sulaiman Maoko hailed the government and the international community for shelter so far; and regretted that support is in short supply in rent times with dilapidating social infrastructure to show. They want scholarships and considerations for survivors in professional schools.

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