Crisis in Cameroon: unnoticed and forgotten

Mission 21 supports the emergency aid of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon. For example, the church is distributing hand-washing station materials and disinfectants to displaced people during the pandemic.

The Norwegian Refugee Council's list includes crises that affect millions of people and yet receive far too little attention. Cameroon is now once again at the top of these forgotten crises. The West African state, which was once perceived as exemplary, is now threatened from three sides.

In the English-speaking west of the country, violence reigns because of the civil war between separatists and government troops. In the north, terror is intensifying due to the Islamist militia Boko Haram. And in the east of the country, the conflict in the Central African Republic is leading to refugee flows into Cameroon.

Forgotten on several levels

The human rights organization NRC cites three criteria on which to base its list of the world's most neglected crises. There is a lack of political will to manage the crisis, both locally and internationally. Media interest in the situation is too low, it says, and international support is inadequate.

The Corona pandemic will also exacerbate humanitarian crises around the world, NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland feared to the media June 9. "We need solidarity with these conflict-ridden communities, now more than ever," Egeland stressed.

Churches even more challenged as bearers of hope

In the case of Cameroon, this means that local churches also need even more support. "It is the churches, especially in English-speaking western Cameroon, that are standing by the disadvantaged and providing them with the most basic necessities, both in the refugee crisis due to the civil war and in the Corona crisis," says Angelika Weber, Cameroon program officer at Mission 21.

In particular, the Presbyterian Church PCC, together with Mission 21, is providing considerable emergency aid in connection with Covid-19. Together, 500 hand-washing stations have been set up, disinfectants provided and distributed to communities in the villages and to makeshift refugee camps in the bush. Emergency relief activities due to the Anglophone crisis, such as medical assistance, food distribution, and support for income-generating activities, are more important than ever.

Text: Christoph Rácz, Photo: Tata Isac

► The article on the website of the Norwegian Refugee Council (English)

► The article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of June 10, 2020

► Mission 21 Emergency Relief and Reconstruction Program

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