The situation in Cameroon has reached alarming proportions with many deaths of both civilians and military. The attendant humanitarian needs are very desperate. Without boring you with the history of our country and crisis; the two English speaking regions make up about 20% of the population and has been subject to complications common with minority groups since Independence.
Since December 2016, following the strike action of the Lawyers and Teachers trade union over professional and systemic problems of the English sub system. This socio professional strike has degenerated into a socio economic and political crisis engendering a humanitarian crisis which needs urgent and sustained attention.
The crisis has led to a drastic slump in the economy and businesses of all forms have plummeted in the country and especially in the Two English Speaking regions (North West and South West). This has heightened poverty and insecurity creating untold misery on the population which for the most part survive on Farming or agricultural economy. The populations in these two Regions are exposed to all forms of criminality, exploitation and inhuman living conditions. In some places, mostly in the rural areas, whole villages have been ravage by burning and deserted, educational facilities and other public property destroyed, farms and other businesses damaged beyond recovery. In addition to the falling standards of living, many people do not have the possibility of earning a living as they have been forced out of their habitual residences hence completely eliminating their potential of resilience.
Many of these people have sought refuge neighboring Nigeria, some are living in the bushes with no shelter, and others have become long-term quest in the houses of family members and friends in town or neighboring villages where it is relatively calm, hence increasing cost of living for those families or friends besides congestion. The estimates vary, the government reports at least 21000 refugees in Nigeria and 150,000 internally displaced people (these statistics vary depending on which source you consult). The UNOCHA report of May 2018 puts the figure of internally displaced people at 160,000, the numbers are generally more because of communication challenges, the fact that most of the people are hiding and may not be known, the situation equally changes each day as confrontations continue. THE NUMBERS OF DISPLACED PEOPLE INCREASE DAILY AS THE CRISIS SPREAD FROM VILLAGE TO VILLAGE. Even if the numbers were exact, they present to us a serious humanitarian problem in Cameroon. We feel called as a Church to take care of the least of these ones (Matt. 25:35-40) and by so doing address the livelihood challenges facing the internally displaced people in the North West and South West.
The CBC has been actively ministering to many internally displaced people through it health services and many churches besides contributing to our central fund, have ministered to many in their churches and neighborhoods.
We have partnered with presbyterian church and the Basel mission via mission 21 to reach to the displace to bring relief to some of the many miserable victims of the ongoing crisis.
A brief view of Food distribution to more than 2000 internally displaced persons in Nkongsamba Field.
Photos of food distribution in Soppo Field (Buea)
The Cameroon Baptist Convention has also distributed food and helped many people in areas like Douala, Yaoundé, Belo, Bethel, Bamenda and Bafoussam respectively. Individual churches have also been very instrumental in this aid at their very corners where most people are affected.
Concluding words from Rev. Dr. Ncham Godwill
We have this far been able to minister to not less than 15,000 of the internally displaced people with funds raised in and by our churches and in partnership with Mission 21 and the Norwegian High commission for refugees. We would appreciate if you would be willing to lead your church, friends to partner with us to minister to the food and non food needs of the internally displaced people and who have sought refuge in Nigeria mostly around Cross River State. You may know an organization that can be of help. A critical need among these people besides food is health challenges.
We shall be grateful to hear from you on this humanitarian crisis situation
Keep watch for more reports from the Cameroon Baptist Convention on the humanitarian aid at www.cameroonbaptistconvention.org .