According to the United Nations, 2019 was the most violent on record for humanitarians, with 483 attacked, 125 killed, 234 wounded and 124 kidnapped.
As if the attacks killings and kidnappings are not enough, COVID-19 has come to further complicate the activities of aid workers. They don’t know whether they will be attacked, killed, kidnapped or get infected by the novel Coronavirus.
Denis Kigha is a Humanitarian worker with an NGO in Buea, Southwest Region of Cameroon. He has been at the door steps of those who have been affected by the on-going Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon. The coming of Coronavirus means he has more and more people to serve.He says being a humanitarian worker requires a lot of sacrifice “Despite the challenges aid workers face around the world, I remain resolute and steadfast to serve those in need. My heart bleeds given that we remain a target especially in the context of the ongoing Anglophone crisis in Cameroon. I have been in the field all this while to give the much needed aid to those affected directly or indirectly by the Anglophone Crisis and now the novel Coronavirus.
More than ever before, we are targeted by the warring parties in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest Regions, irrespective of that, we are still determined to serve those who are critically in need” Denis said with a broad smile on his face. He regrets that some localities where aid has to be delivered are inaccessible. “At times you really want to deliver aid to people affected by the Anglophone crisis in some localities but gunshots won’t let you, coupled to that you risk being kidnapped, however being a humanitarian worker you are driven by the need of the people. I try my best to reach out to the most needy”. Denis added.
Christopher Tanjoh Fon, an aid worker in the Batibo, Northwest region of Cameroon was recently killed by alleged Separatist Fighters. He was working with a local NGO, Community Initiative for Sustainable Development, COMINSUD, a partner organization with the World Food program. His crime was that he spoke against the excesses of the Separatist Fighters of his area who have allegedly been wrecking havoc on helpless civilians.
Madame Mbowoh Lucia is the Director of ERuDeF Center for the Advancement of Women’s Initiative (CAWI). She says humanitarian workers like never before need protection given that they are increasingly being targeted. CAWI has been helping Internally Displaced persons as a result of the current socio-economic crisis rocking the two English Speaking Regions of Cameroon. She however maintains that if the prize for being an aid worker is constantly being targeted or even being killed, then she is willing to pay the ultimate price to rescue those in critical need. Hear her “Aid
workers around the world have been doing a lot to help those affected by natural disasters, wars and even pandemics such as the novel coronavirus that evaded the world since 2019. We risk our lives to serve those who are critically in need yet we remain a target especially during conflicts as the case of the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon. CAWI which I head will continue to expand her humanitarian activities across Cameroon and even beyond. We are witnessing a surge in the number of conflicts around the world. This surge in conflict has rendered many in critical need of humanitarian aid.”
The world like never before need to come together as one and protected our Real Heroes; those who have been risking their lives to serve those who are critically in need. #let’sprotecthumanitarianworkers.