The dispute over water resources in northern Cameroon has caused around 80,000 people to flee into Chad since December 5, prompting the host country to call for immediate assistance for new refugees.

Clashes between herders, fishermen and farmers over dwindling water resources triggered a major outflow of refugees from Cameroon.
Clashes between herders, fishermen and farmers over dwindling water resources triggered a major outflow of refugees from Cameroon. (AFP)

Over 80,000 people have fled inter-communal violence which has left at least 22 dead and 30 seriously injured  in northern Cameroon in the past 10 days to seek refuge in Chad.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided the figures on Tuesday, expressing concerns over the number of people displaced by the violence.

"There are now 82,000 Cameroonian refugees who have crossed the Chari River," which separates Chad and Cameroon, UNHCR representative in Chad Papa Kysma Sylla told AFP news agency, 

People are continuing to arrive, putting more pressure on Chad, a central African country of about 17 million people that is home to about a million refugees and internally displaced people.

In a statement on Wednesday, the president of Chad's ruling junta, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, referred to the refugee inflow as a "worrying situation".

Mahamat Deby called on "the international community to act promptly to provide urgent assistance to these new refugees".

READ MORE: Thousands flee to Chad after deadly farmer-herder clashes in Cameroon

Water insecurity

The UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, said last week that more than 30,000 people in the northern region fled to Chad after ethnic clashes. 

In the clashes between fishermen and herders, at least a dozen Cameroonian villages have been reduced to ashes, according to the UN.

The conflict stems from disputes about water management and access, the authorities say.

In August, 45 people were killed and several dozen wounded in inter-community clashes between fishermen and herders, also in the Far North region of Cameroon.

More than 20,000 Cameroonians took refuge in Chad after that incident, with 8,500 still not having returned home, according to the UNHCR.

READ MORE: In pictures: Deadly clashes over water displace thousands in Cameroon

Source: TRTWorld and agencies