Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons Affected by the war in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon

RELUFA continues its Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons Affected by the War in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon now faced with the challenge of COVID-19

RELUFA recently organized in its Yaounde premises a ceremony to distribute individual protection equipment to internally displaced persons and their host families. This was done in strict compliance with the social distancing measures prescribed by government. The action is meant to contribute in the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The event equally saw RELUFA handing financial assistance to the IDPs to allow them start up income-generating activities to support themselves and their families. This humanitarian action was made possible thanks to support from the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) and the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) of PCUSA, John Knox Presbyterian Church and some former employees of the Center for Environment and Development and their friends.

It is a privilege to see people who can think about the suffering of others because it is only when you have experienced suffering that you can understand the plight of others. This appreciation is from Diye Solange a private teacher and host of an IDP, 19 years old Nze Bruno after receiving her COVID-19 protective equipment and financial assistance from RELUFA.

Solange says Nze Bruno came to Yaounde in 2019 running away from the war in his village in Shisong. He was a student in GHBS Tatum but had to abandon school because of the war. His parents also relocated and now live away from the village. Life has been so challenging for him because he has nothing doing. He started selling Folere, a locally made soft drink to survive; with the assistance from RELUFA, he hopes to extend his business.

Two other beneficiaries of RELUFA assistance, Ncho Mary and Fru Melvis from Awing village, have a similar story. They came to Yaounde in 2018 as a result of the war in the NW and SW Regions of Cameroon which saw the burning down of their house by the military. They were all students in Government High School Awing. Due to the crisis they stopped going to school. They went to stay in their uncle’s house in the village but unfortunately, the uncle’s house too was burnt down. They then escaped to join their elder sister in Yaounde who is married to a taxi driver. They live with this couple in a one room house in Yaounde. Their parents refused to leave the village and are now staying with a neighbor whose house has not been burnt. They say Life has been very difficult for them here in Yaounde and they want to start frying and selling puff puff in Obili where they live. The financial assistance from RELUFA and its partners is really a welcome relief.

Unlike the other IDPs, 21 years old Mfor Clovis also came to Yaounde early 2020 running away from the war in his village Taku and constant pressure from the armed group for him to join them in the fight. But this Clovis could not do because he is not courageous enough. He is living with a host family in Yaounde and life is really not easy. Clovis wants to open a cigarette kiosk at Shell Obili so he could generate funds to sustain his life. He says with the support of RELUFA it is like a dream come true.

On her part, Mbinkar Linda Nyuyki from Mbah village came to Yaounde in 2019 after an ordeal linked to the war in the NW/SW Regions. She is married to a retired police officer with whom upon retirement, they returned to the village. One day the army came to the village and arrested both Linda and the husband. They accused the husband of training the armed groups and remanded him in prison and took the case to the military tribunal. Till date, no evidence has emerged and the case has not been judged. After spending two weeks under detention 56 years old Linda was released and she came to meet her son in Yaounde. Life has been very difficult for them since there is no source of income. She wants to start a small business of buying and selling of garri. This will be possible with the financial assistance just received from RELUFA.

42 years old Ngwenetoh Maggie from Bambui village is a single mother with two children. She left Bambui in 2017 as a result of the war in the NW and SW Regions of Cameroon. While in Bambui she was involved in petti trading and now in Yaounde she is working as a house help. This job is not very convenient because she does not earn enough money to pay her house rent, transport to work, and the feeding of her children. Life has been very difficult for her. She says she wants to start her own business so that she will have more time and flexibility for her kids rather than serving as a house help where she works all day for little pay. With the financial assistance from RELUFA, she hopes to start selling tomatoes.

People who have been displaced by violence are particularly vulnerable to health complications. Their temporary accommodation can be crowded, often with inadequate sanitation and shelter or little access to medical care and proper nutrition. Also, in these conditions, physical distancing can be a real challenge. Based on these factors, the RELUFA COVID-19 assistance emergency project will also be extended to IDPs in Douala as overcrowding and poor hygiene may pose an additional challenge when it comes to preventing and containing the virus.

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