YAOUNDE, Cameroon

Several international NGOs on Thursday called for an immediate scale-up of the humanitarian response to address soaring needs in the Cameroon’s Far North Region.

According to a statement signed by several organizations, three suicide attacks took place between Aug. 1 and Sept. 14 in camps and localities hosting internally displaced people.

Thirty civilians were killed and more than 40 injured in the attacks, it said.

“These attacks are part of a significant increase in violent incidents in Cameroon’s Far North Region, in recent months,” the statement added.

“Survivors are forced to flee, leaving everything they own behind to save their lives. Most of them have no place to sleep and almost no access to water and health care,” said Fabienne Mially, from Premiere Urgence Internationale, lead of the Rapid Response Mechanism in the region.

“It is unacceptable that people who went through so much violence and despair are not receiving the support they need,” Mially said.

According to the statement, conflict in the region has forced the displacement of over 321,886 Cameroonians and 115,000 Nigerian refugees.

“I had to flee one year ago when my village was attacked. I have seen how they have barbarously killed some members of my family and those images are still vivid in my mind. I have lost sleep due to the nightmares,” the statement quoted Fatima, 34 years old and pregnant, as saying.

“I am alive for sure, but I can hardly feel alive.”

Apart from attacks, the region also experienced heavy rains in the past weeks that caused large scale floods, houses, roads, cultivated areas destroyed, “further reducing the access to services while emergency needs are on the rise in terms of shelters, medical care, protection and food security,” the statement said.

The coronavirus pandemic has also “led to significant loss of jobs and incomes in this region, marked by poverty, very limited access to social services and the prevalent insecurity,” it added.

The NGOs that signed the statement included Action Contre la Faim, International Medical Corps, IEDA Relief, Norwegian Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee, Lutheran World Federation, Premiere Urgence Internationale and Alliance for International Medical Action.

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