People are fleeing to Nigeria from conflict-hit English speaking areas of Cameron, with the number of registered refugees in eastern Nigeria’s Cross River state reaching about 10,000.
The conditions of women and children who constitute about 80% of the refugees is precarious, said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The agency says that the numbers may be highly under-reported.
It says that the most vulnerable are the unaccompanied and separated children and that there are reports of children having to work or beg for the survival.
“For women, the lack of work combined with the over-stretched reception facilities, creates a higher risk of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly from survival sex,” said William Spindler, UNHCR spokesperson.
“Incidents of domestic violence, as well as cases of teenage pregnancies involving girls as young as 14, have also been reported,” he said.
The agency and Nigerian authorities are trying to find out a place where the refugees can live according to international standards, according to UNHCR.
The conflict began in Cameroon following demands for a separate state for English speaking regions of Cameroon.