Shelter from cold, the mosquitos and the bad weather


The political crisis and arm conflicts in the Central African Republic have caused 259,000 people to flee to Cameroon, where reception centers are rapidly reaching their capacity. Première Urgence Internationale manages 7 sites in Cameroon’s eastern region and in Adamawa, which have welcomed more than 75,000 refugees. The organization is also taking action to facilitate housing and sanitary conditions.

 I left the Central African Republic two years ago after the Anti-balaka killed my husband. I walked for five months with my children before arriving at the Cameroonian border, with the fear of meeting our torturers. We entered Cameroon through the village of Damissa, 20 kilometres away from Ngaoui, where we found Borgop refugee camp. As there was no space in the family shelters for newcomers, we moved to the Ngam refugee camp in August 2014.” tells Ousmanou Rougayatou, a 47 year-old widow.

On arriving at the refugee camp, Ousmanou and her five children were housed in a communal shelter, a transit hangar, which had a capacity of 100 people who were waiting to find more long-term accommodation.

There were 80 of us in the communal shelter, which measured 25 metres by 8 metres. We were often the victims of theft and there were problems with space, security, mosquitos, cold, insalubrity and promiscuity. The shelter was dilapidated and we had to stay standing and put all of our things into a corner each time it rained. During the day it was very hot but it got very cold at night. We often fell ill“.

A more sustainable shelter made from bricks and straw

 In April 2016, Ousmanou and her children were given a more sustainable shelter made from bricks and straw, built by Première Urgence Internationale as part of a project financed by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO). “We now have space and privacy and are sheltered from the cold, the mosquitos and the bad weather. We no longer fall ill as often.

Along with 447 other refugees, Ousmanou and her five children were able to benefit from a sustainable shelter in Ngam, located in Cameroon’s Adamawa region, built by Première Urgence Internationale teams. This site welcomes more than 6,000 Central African refugees who have fled the exaction and political instability that has reigned over the country for more than 10 years.

The political crisis and armed conflicts that are ravaging the Central African Republic has caused 259,145 people (figures: UNHCR, April 2016) to flee to Cameroon. The first refugees sought safety in Cameroonian villages, living alongside the population, but the capacity of these villages soon became saturated with the influx of refugees. In response to the influx of refugees, seven refugee camps have been built in Cameroon, which are able to welcome 75,000 people. In order to cater for the needs of these people, Première Urgence Internationale manages these sites, coordinates the interventions of other non-governmental organisations and facilitates the access to water, sanitation and decent housing.

Thanks to financing from ECHO, non-governmental organisations have been able to build 1,107 houses were able to be built on 5 sites in the eastern region of Cameroon and in Adamawa, located on the border with the Central African Republic. Currently, additional shelters are being built on four sites in the eastern region with help from UNHCR. However, the situation remains worrying. In order to meet standards and guarantee suitable housing, one shelter should house four people. This means that 2,877 homes need to be built on the four sites. Faced with the lack of possibilities for shelters, refugees have adopted certain coping strategies such as overpopulation, the spontaneous construction of shelters and the construction of urgency shelters. However, these offer them very limited options for protection and hygiene.


How your donations are used?

Stats Each year, Première Urgence Internationale allocates most of its resources to the programs and activities and only 0.2% to fundraising. Your donations are crucial.

Take control of your destiny

Your donations ensure our freedom of action. They allow us to provide support to those affected by crises that have been forgotten by the media and institutional sponsors. It means that the decisions of how to use all of the donations collected are taken by the organisation. It gives us the freedom to act and to increase our responsiveness.
Make a donation