News / Africa

Hunger Drives CAR Residents to Cameroon

Muslim refugees prepare food at the Catholic church in Carnot, Central African Republic, April 15, 2014.
Muslim refugees prepare food at the Catholic church in Carnot, Central African Republic, April 15, 2014.
On the eve of World Refugee Day, the number of people fleeing the Central African Republic into Cameroon is increasing sharply. The refugees are escaping violence and famine caused by droughts and failure to farm since the conflict in the C.A.R. began in 2013.

Here in Garoua Boulaye, housewife Govegh Nadia says she and other Central Africans who left the C.A.R. were no longer running away from just sectarian violence - but famine.

She tells VOA there is no food at home due to a lack of rainfall and that is causing people to find whatever way they can over patrolled borders to get into Cameroon in order to eat and survive.

Most of the refugees appear to be women and children.

Fighting is also fueling famine, explains 43-year-old mother of four Pana Yogo. She says her church in Baoro was attacked by Seleka rebels in early June and her eldest son died in the attack.  

"There is still war in my country with people killing others," she says. "People can no longer go to the farms due to the fear of violence and they must leave to stop their children dying of starvation."

But once the refugees get to Cameroon, they encounter new hardships - including local resentment.  

Refugee Nzapaye Lynne says she could not bear the difficult conditions at a nearby UNHCR camp and decided to sell bread at the Garoua Boulaye market junction to take care of her sick husband and three children.  But she says she is now being harassed by local officials.

 “What do they want me to eat?" she asks, " It is horrible here in Cameroon.”  She says locals are harassing her at the food market asking her to pay taxes and seizing her goods.

Local council official Meka Meka David tells VOA that the refugees are welcome but are not exempt from respecting the laws of their host country and must be monitored for everyone’s protection.  

He says because the refugees are from a country in conflict, Cameroonians do not know if they will start fighting here and that people you consider friendly can turn out to be an enemy - which is why his country must be careful.

Most refugees here - like Dike Yayi - long for peace to return so that they may go home.

How can I love some other person’s country, she wonders, adding that she will not hesitate to go back to the C.A.R. once there is again calm.

The United Nations estimates more than a million people have fled their homes in the Central African Republic and half the population is in urgent need of food assistance as a result of violence during the past year.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs