03 January 2018

Food Aid to Central African Refugees in Cameroon

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has provided food aid to 5,885 Central African Muslim refugees living under difficult conditions in Cameroon.

Due to ethnic conflicts that erupted in the Central African Republic in 2014, more than 300,000 Central Africans have been forced to settle in camps or move into the homes of family members in the East and North regions of neighboring Cameroon. According to reports provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in 2017, 62% of the 260,000 Central African refugees living in Cameroon were children, excluding the ones that had returned.  In addition to the 75,000 refugees living in camps provided by the United Nations, 185,000 refugees live with their families or in camps not offered by the UNHCR.

At the “Uni Pour Servir” camp located in the East region of Cameroon in the city of Garoua-Boulaï, which is at the border of Central Africa, there live a total of 1,282 families, which amounts to 5,885 Central African refugees. However, the refugees have not had access to even basic food supplies for months.  Turkey, the country which hosts the largest refugee population in the world, delivered 50 tons of basic food supplies to the “Uni Pour Servir” camp through TIKA, allowing the refugees to regain decent living standards.

Ahmet Bozbey, the Cameroon Coordinator of TIKA, gave a speech during the distribution of supplies and said the following: “Turkey is aware of and understands the widespread refugee crisis that has affected the Central African refugees, their host country Cameroon, the continent of Africa, an even the entire world. We want you to know that we are here to offer solutions.” Bozbey also said: “The Republic of Turkey, which hosts 4 million refugees, does not discriminate on the basis of religion, language, or ethnicity and is proud to be the top provider of humanitarian aid in the world. Not only does Turkey provide humanitarian aid, it also contributes to national development through projects and programs organized by TIKA.”

Diyen Jam Laurence, the district mayor of Garoua-Boulaï, expressed that since 2014, the Muslim population of Central Africa has been settling particularly in the East Region of Cameroon due to reasons of security and famine and that the town of Garoua-Boulaï has particularly been affected by this wave of migration.  Laurence stated that the timing of the food aid provided to the nearly 70,000 refugees in the province was splendid, and that should the refugees be offered support in terms of taking part in agriculture and animal husbandry, they will become a society that is able to stand on their own feet. 

After food aid was distributed at the camp, the children were given toys.  The residents of the camp expressed that they were infinitely grateful to Turkey, its citizens, and TIKA.  

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