The different nature of on-going crises in Cameroon requires IOM to adapt its response strategy around the specific contexts and vulnerabilities of crisis-affected populations. Needs range from immediate life-saving assistance in the North-West and South-West as well as the Far-North region to protracted recovery specifically in the Far-North. IOM, in partnership with key stakeholders, seeks to improve the living conditions and suffering of the most vulnerable displaced populations through the provision of tailored lifesaving and protection (including Mental Health and Psychosocial Support) assistance. Durable solutions to displacements will be prioritized in targeted regions in the Far-North whilst reintegration, community stabilization and transition interventions will be essential in addressing sources of tension and reestablishing stability and trust in conflict-affected communities.
In 2020, an estimated 4.4 million individuals in Cameroon will be in need of humanitarian assistance. Increasing violence in the Far-North region of the country and the lack of progress towards political solutions in the North-West, South-West regions are predicted to cause further displacements and increase humanitarian needs.
The Central African Republic (CAR) refugee crisis in the Eastern region is far from solved but the situation there remains stable. The Boko Haram crisis has heavily impacted the Far-North region during the five past years, which still triggers lower magnitude displacements due to small scale sporadic attacks. Whilst return movements of former IDPs have been registered in the Far-North in the past year, since the beginning of 2019, the region witnessed a resurgence in violence as ongoing hostilities have uprooted more than 270,000 IDPs. Women and girls have been particularly affected by this crisis as they are exposed to different forms of violence and abuse, including sexual violence and abduction by non-state armed groups (NSAGs).
In the English-speaking regions of the country, namely the South-West and North-West, a socio-political crisis erupted in 2017. What started as corporatist peaceful protests turned into an armed conflict between the government defence forces and NSAGs, triggering very dynamic and massive internal displacements and related humanitarian needs. The deterioration of the situation has seen a sharp increase compared to 2018 when 160,000 people were estimated to need humanitarian assistance in this region. The people in need now include more than 480,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the South-West and NorthWest, while needs are also increasing in the neighbouring Littoral, West and Adamaoua regions.
Whilst return movements of former IDPs have been registered in the Far-North in 2018, the region has been experiencing an upsurge in violence with increasing sporadic attacks and continued movements of populations. In the South-West and North-West, about half a million individuals are currently displaced, with civilians and basic facilities having been repeatedly targeted since the start of the crisis. As such, in 2020, IOM foresees humanitarian support will be needed for four population groups:
- IDPs who have been forced to flee for the first time in the South-West, North-West and Far-North;
- IDPs who remain in protracted displacement in the Far-North, who are willing to return but who are unable to and who thus continue to suffer from poor living conditions and lack of support (including out of camp refugees in the Far-North specifically);
- Vulnerable host communities in the South-West, North-West and Far-North in areas of displacement and return where services are outstretched. The majority of displaced households are currently residing with host families in both crisis-affected regions of the country, putting enormous strain on the already precarious coping mechanisms of the host communities.
- IDPs who have returned, many of whom are facing challenging conditions such as damage to properties and limited access to livelihoods and basic services.