Cameroon Humanitarian Crisis Worsens

The dust has settled on the ethnic clashes that recently left at least 12 people dead in northern Cameroon but humanitarian needs are escalating.

Over a month after the land dispute featuring the Mouzgoum and Choa Arab communities in the Logone-Birni district in the Far North left another 100 people injured and an estimated 30 000 others displaced from their homes, the rainy season brings a peak in the rates of malaria and diarrheal diseases.

Recurrent floods increase the risk of cholera.

This after the looting and burning of villages led people to seek refuge in Kousseri while others acrossed the border to Chad.

Health workers have been mobilised in the central African region to respond to the consequences of the clash.

In collaboration with the Kousseri Health District, Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) intervened in the first days of the clashes.

This enabled the hospital in Kousseri to provide better care for the injured.

Ballé Diouf, head of MSF's Kousseri emergency project, said the support MSF provided by referring injured patients with serious cases to the Chadian capital, N'djamena, relieved the patients, families and staff at the hospital.

"This has made it possible to save the lives of patients who would otherwise might not have received appropriate care in Kousseri," he said.

When the fighting began, an MSF team comprising two doctors, two nurses, and a clinical psychologist along with a coordinating team cared for injured and displaced people in the villages of Missika, Madiak and the Logone Birni district.

Most of the people displaced were forced to leave their possessions behind when they fled their homes, walking several kilometres to reach safety.

Malaria, diarrhea and child malnutrition have been identified as the main health problems.

A total of 1 972 medical consultations were carried out in Oundouma and Gamakotoko.

Some 33 patients, including wounded people, pregnant women and severely malnourished children were assisted.

MSF has been present in Cameroon since 1984.

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