In Cameroon, 4.4 million people, including 2.3 million children, 1.1 million women and 660,000 persons with disabilities,2 urgently need humanitarian assistance. Needs are driven by armed conflict, inter-communal violence, an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries, disease outbreaks, including cholera and measles, and seasonal flooding. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic compounds these challenges and COVID-19 vaccination coverage remains low.
UNICEF will tackle new and protracted humanitarian needs by investing in emergency preparedness, scaling up field presence, and strengthening localization and accountability to affected populations. UNICEF programmes will integrate gender equality, the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, and gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies.
UNICEF and partners will apply a targeted, multi-sectoral approach across interventions.
UNICEF requires US$76 million to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), child protection and nutrition sectors constitute the greatest funding needs.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND NEEDS
Cameroon is facing three concurrent, complex, protracted crises,8 driven by armed conflict and a refugee influx that now impacts 9 of the country's 10 regions. Cameroon remains vulnerable to disease outbreaks, especially cholera and measles, and has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, while COVID-19 vaccination coverage remains low.
In 2021, 4.4 million people need humanitarian assistance,9 of which 55 per cent are children and 25 per cent are women. Two million people are in extreme need.10 One million people are internally displaced and an additional 1 million people are either refugees or returnees. Cameroon is currently ranked 141 out of 189 on gender equality. Gender-based discrimination against women and girls is further aggravated in regions affected by crises.
Humanitarian needs play out against a backdrop of structural deficits, chronic vulnerabilities and multi-dimensional poverty that challenge the long-term recovery of affected people.12
In 2021, there were 2,283 security incidents reported in the North-west/South-west (NW/SW) regions,13 including 71 “ghost-town”/lockdown days, during which non-state armed groups prohibit freedom of movement and economic/humanitarian activities. As a result, children’s lives and access to services and assistance were severely disrupted during approximately 14.2 working weeks. Attacks on civilians, including abductions and killings of school children and teachers are on the rise. From October 2020 through June 2021, 39 schools14 were directly attacked in the NW/SW regions. Threats against aid workers are similarly increasing, in part due to increased politicization of the humanitarian response. Dozens of staff working for local non-government organizations (NGOs) have been attacked, abducted or killed. Both non-state armed groups and state security forces have been identified as perpetrators of grave violations against children.15
In the Lake Chad Basin (LCB), conflict continues to create considerable humanitarian needs in Cameroon's Far North Region. Humanitarian access is hampered by an increased use and presence of improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance, combined with physical constraints such as poor road infrastructure and seasonal flooding.
Internal population movement ranges from pre-emptive to protracted displacement, with many internally displaced persons (IDPs) displacing multiple times. Generally, IDPs live in host communities, putting pressure on community resources that are already exhausted. Acute malnutrition, exceeding emergency thresholds, endures among refugee populations both in and out of camp.16 The Adamawa, East and North regions host more than 300,000 refugees from the Central African Republic.17 The Littoral, West and Centre regions18 are increasingly hosting IDPs affected by armed conflict in the NW/SW regions.