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UNICEF Cameroon Humanitarian Situation Report No. 5 - May 2020

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  • In Far North Region, UNICEF partners, IMC and ALDEPA assisted 5,627 conflict affected children including 1,369 IDPs, with psychosocial support while 53 separated and unaccompanied children were also assisted with hygiene kits and clothing.

  • In May, the number of new COVID-19 cases surged in conflict affected North-West (103 cases), South-West (182 cases) and Far North (89 cases) regions while nationwide, the total number increased from 2,069 on 30 April to 6,752 by 31 May. Littoral and Central Regions continue to show the highest proportion of cases nationwide.

  • Over 7,904 children affected by the North-West and South-West crisis were vaccinated against measles & rubella.

  • UNICEF further integrated COVID-19 response into its humanitarian activities while remaining vigilant to periodic disease outbreaks. A special CV19 guidance was developed for WASH, Nutrition, Education and Child Protection clusters in NW and SW regions. [Note: UNICEF Cameroon is issuing weekly sitreps on its COVID-19 response. These are available on ReliefWeb.]

Funding Overview and Partnerships

In 2020 UNICEF is appealing for US$ 45,445,000 in support of lifesaving and protection-based response for children and women in Cameroon. As of 31 May, UNICEF has received funding against this humanitarian requirement from the Japanese government, Swedish SIDA and the UN CERF. UNICEF expresses its appreciation to all public and private donors for their support. Against a COVID19 response requirement of US$24,007,500 for the remainder of 2020 as presented in the UNICEF global COVID-19 HAC, US$1,940,822 was received in May.

In view of the critical funding situation impacting humanitarian response for children in Cameroon, UNICEF shared a Donor Alert with Yaounde embassies and donor representatives highlighting life-saving and protection-based activities that must be implemented over the next five months, for which $10,608,000 is urgently required. Vital activities are being curtailed for lack of funding including measles vaccination, access to lifesaving essential drugs, continued nutritional screening and treatment, support for safe water and sanitation and mental health and psychosocial services.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

While the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions pose new threats to children and communities across Cameroon, over two million children remain in need of urgent humanitarian assistance as a consequence of violence and conflict and periodic disease outbreaks including measles and cholera.

Continuing clashes in North-West and South-West regions led to 4,092 new IDPs (683 households) including 2,474 in the North-West and 1,618 in the South-West. Humanitaran access was increasingly hindered at both official and unofficial roadblocks and checkpoints in the two regions. The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by some NSAGs was reported along roads in the South-West Region.

Since 20 May, the delivery of supplies from UNICEF Douala warehouse for RRM activities in North-West Region was slowed due to roadblocks on the main access road from Bamenda to Kumbo.

The COVID-19 crisis has also compounded the pre-existing impact of the armed conflict on education. As a result of the dual emergencies, 6,379 schools and 4,200 community learning centres were temporarily closed leaving 1 million school aged children forced to stay at home. UNICEF pursued the integration of COVID-19 infection and prevention control (IPC) measures into its overall humanitarian response to maintain the pace of emergency supply distributions and provision of emergency health, nutrition, WASH and child protection services.

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens communities in the three divisions of Far North Region (Mayo Sava, Mayo Tsanaga and Logone et Chari) bordering Nigeria. These populations are already living in constant insecurity due to repeated cross-border incursions including kidnapping, murder, the burning of homes and ransacking of health facilities. In a new trend, attacks are reportedly conducted by both settled and cross-border NSAGs . In Kolofata commune, Mayo Sava division, the main IDP camp accommodating some 13,000 people was progressively abandoned in the first two weeks of the month due to insecurity following infiltration by Boko Haram suspects, strong suspicions of collaboration and fear of reprisals. UNICEF, UN agencies and NGOs initiated response within available resources. Overall, the impact of the multi-country Lake Chad Basin crisis on children remains severe. There are over 150,000 displaced children in Far North Region. In addition to exposure to predatory attacks, children are endangered by the presence of unexploded remnants of war and potential recruitment into armed groups. This month, 8 girls and 2 women were abducted in cross-border attacks. COVID-19 restrictions are adding to the constraints on humanitarian access already limited by attacks on government administration and security forces including the use of IEDs, and ongoing military operations.