The environmental impact of migration: Cameroon case study
Groupe URD is carrying out research on the environmental impact of the Minawao refugee camp in the far north of Cameroon. There are currently 62 000 refugees in Minawao camp, who have fled the conflict caused by Boko Haram in Nigeria. The camp is located in a very arid region where the effects of climate change have already been felt for a number of years (desertification, lack of rain, etc.).
The biggest impact is on wood resources, notably firewood for refugees who now need to travel more than 6 km from the camp to collect wood. Water is also a major issue in the region. Despite the actions of the HCR to restore facilities in the surrounding area and the drilling of 30 boreholes in the camp, there is still not enough water.
Two years after the arrival of large number of refugees, their presence has already had a significant impact on the environment. The lack of funding and visibility given to this crisis by the humanitarian sector does not allow a long term vision to be adopted which would allow natural resources to be protected and the resilience of both the refugees and the host community to be reinforced.
Measures can, nevertheless, be taken to limit the negative impact. For example, in order to limit the impact on wood resources, large-scale awareness-raising campaigns could be run about improved stoves, and solar cookers could be introduced, as has been done successfully in similar contexts like Eastern Chad.
This project is part of a study funded by the Global Disaster Preparedness Center. A previous case study was carried out in Lebanon in January 2016 in the peri-urban region of Sahlé-Chtaura, where there are several informal settlements, the rural region of Ghazzeh, where the refugee population is ten times higher than the host population, and the city of Tripoli.