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Cameroon: Humanitarian Response Plan 2017–2020 Summary (January 2018)

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FOREWORD BY THE HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR

In 2018, Cameroon continues to face a complex and unprecedented humanitarian crisis which has impacted the lives and livelihoods of 3.3 million people, an increase of 14% compared to last year. Through our concerted action, outlined in this Humanitarian Response Plan, we plan to support 1.3 million of the people in need in the most affected regions of Adamaoua, East, North and Far-North.

The resurgence of violence in the Central African Republic has continued to drive vulnerable families towards the eastern regions of Cameroon, which is host to the largest number of Central African refugees (237,000 people). This influx is exerting significant pressure on natural resources and basic social services in host areas, exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities.

At the same time, the escalation of Boko Haram attacks in North-East Nigeria and Far-North Cameroon is forcing thousands of people, both Nigerians and Cameroonians, to flee from violence and find refuge with host families, placing an additional strain on already vulnerable communities.

Internal displacement has continued to increase. By the end of 2017, it was estimated that 236,000 people had been internally displaced. Many families have lost relatives, property, and homes. Some have been abducted or forcibly recruited by armed groups. Thousands of women, men and children have been subjected to abuse and violence and continue to be traumatized against a backdrop of prevailing insecurity.

In 2017, improved security in some areas and the search for better living conditions led 59,000 internally displaced persons to decide to return to their areas of origin. These families go back to towns which have been devastated by conflict, their houses destroyed, their schools and medical centres burned down. They are in dire need of food assistance, cash, and access to essential basic services.

The magnitude of the crisis and its impact on the most vulnerable requires a multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional response that includes humanitarian, resilience and development components. Only coordinated and harmonized action can mitigate human suffering and address the root causes of this crisis.

Last year and for the first time in Cameroon, the Government and the humanitarian community adopted a multi-year humanitarian response plan covering the period 2017-2020, in alignment with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2018-2020). In a context of protracted humanitarian crisis, we are determined to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus and further involve development partners in reducing the vulnerabilities and risks underlying humanitarian needs. Humanitarian and development actors have begun identifying shared collective outcomes that we will all be accountable for, and to which each of us will contribute according to our capacities and comparative advantage. Only with this synergy of action will we be able to effectively support the Government of Cameroon in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2018, we also aim to improve the involvement of local responders, be they national NGOs or local authorities. We must do more to capitalize on these comparative advantages to improve the quality and sustainability of our action.

On behalf of the humanitarian community in Cameroon, I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Government at the central and local levels for supporting humanitarian workers in carrying out their activities and to the donor community for their continuous support to our goals and programmes. Joint action will continue to be essential if we are to fulfil our shared humanitarian imperative: saving lives and preserving the dignity of hundreds of thousands of people.

Allegra Baiocchi
Humanitarian Coordinator

OVERVIEW OF THE CRISIS

The humanitarian situation in Cameroon continues to be characterized by the impact of three humanitarian crises: growing insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin region, the conflict in the Central African Republic and the significant deterioration in food security and nutrition situation. The increased human vulnerability manifests itself in a context of growing insecurity and sustained poverty.

In 2018, 3.3 million people, or 14% of the total population, need humanitarian assistance. Of these, 99% are located in four regions: the Far-North, Adamaoua, East and North.
More than half of those in need are children (896,000 girls and 915,000 boys) and more than 50% are women. The most important needs are in the areas of protection, water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH), food security and health.

Cameroon is the second most affected country by the Boko Haram crisis in terms of the number of people displaced by the conflict (237,000 Cameroonians and 91,000 Nigerian refugees) and security incidents reported

The Minawao camp hosts 59,000 Nigerian refugees, which is three times greater than its capacity. The majority of internally displaced people and 30,000 out-of-camp refugees have found refuge in host communities, stretching already scarce resources. Civilian populations, especially women and children affected by renewed attacks by suspected members of Boko Haram and the intensification of military operations, are at risk of abuse, human rights violations and gender-based violence. Those who fled have witnessed brutal crimes and suffer from widespread trauma. Limited asylum space for refugees and the forced return of Nigerian refugees to Nigeria (estimated at 4,400 Nigerians in 2017) also represent major protection concerns.

Cameroon is hosting the largest number of Central African refugees (CAR)

Faced with the crisis since 2004, Cameroon is home to nearly 237,000 refugees from CAR, dispersed over several hundred sites and villages, mainly in the East and Adamaoua regions. Only 30% of these refugees (77,000 people) are housed in seven organized sites; the others live with host communities. In both cases, access to water, sanitation and hygiene services remains limited, increasing pressure on basic social services and exacerbating tensions between refugees and host communities. Prospects for return are not immediate: according to several surveys, 70% of respondents want to stay in Cameroon and their return will depend mainly on the stabilization of the security situation in their country of origin. US $ 304.5 million is required in response to this crisis, including US $ 161.6 million for the refugee component.

Nearly 2.6 million people suffer from the deterioration of food security and nutrition indicators as well as epidemics

Nearly 80% of those people live in Adamaoua and the Far-North. This includes more than 180,000 people reaching the emergency threshold in food insecurity, mainly in the Far-North. The Adamaoua region is experiencing a worsening of food insecurity with an increase of more than 20% in the number of people in need compared to 2016. Also, more than 170,000 boys and girls will be malnourished, including 44,700 who will face severe acute malnutrition, mainly in the North and Far North, where the alert threshold has been surpassed (1%) .

Access to essential services has deteriorated in areas affected by the conflict. In the Far-North, only 14% of the population has access to adequate hygiene and sanitation facilities and more than half do not have access to a water source. At least 90 schools are no longer functioning in this region, leaving 45,000 children in urgent need of education and vulnerable to possible radicalization. Health centres, whose access and quality were already limited, are increasingly under pressure due to displacement and continuous influx of injured people.

For example, nine health centres in the Far-North have ceased their activities, notably due to violence or occupation by armed forces, which is of great concern considering the frequent spread of epidemics such as cholera, poliomyelitis, yaws, measles, yellow fever and meningitis. US $ 304.5 million is required in response to this crisis.