By Andrew Nsoseka
Doctors without Borders, an international nonprofit health service provider to disaster and conflict victims, has raised an alarm as 40,000 Nigerian refugees from Rann, are packing out of their shelters after being ordered by Cameroonian and Nigerian authorities to vacate their refuge homes and return to the town where they escaped from.
In a press statement released on February 27, by Doctors Without Borders, they state that that, three weeks ago, the entire population of the town of Rann, in Northeast Nigeria, fled to Goura in Cameroon. They said the nearly 40,000 people who fled Rann have been living in makeshift shelters since their arrival, “but they are now leaving Cameroon after being told to go home.”
Stéphanie Remion, Doctors Without Borders’ Emergency Coordinator in Goura, in the statement, said, “Today, we are seeing people packing up their belongings and leaving for Rann after being told by Cameroonian and Nigerian authorities to leave. We are extremely concerned over what will happento them once they go back to Rann as the security situation there is still volatile and there is no humanitarian assistance available.”
According to Doctors Without Borders, “Rann has been attacked several times in recent months and manyof the patients we treated in Goura told us they fled because they were afraid. They don’t want toreturn.”
Concern Over Spread Of Worsening Health Conditions
Apart from the concern of sending back refugees to the area they are fleeing from, Doctors Without Borders maintain that Goura, where the refugees are ordered to evacuate, had been attacked by an outbreak of measles. The humanitarian healthcare providers are concerned that the returning refugees may cross over with measles likely to trigger another outbreak in Rann.
“We know there were cases of measles in Goura and if this spreads in Rann where there is no medical care available, it will be a disaster. We call on the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to protect these vulnerable people and ensure they can seek safety where they choose and where they have access to essential means such as shelter, food and medical care,” the statement said.