Analysis of the context, crisis and needs
Humanitarian needs in nine of Cameroon’s ten regions continue due to three concurrent crises affecting the country: the Lake Chad Basin conflict, the North-West South-West crisis and the Central African refugee crisis in the eastern regions. The required assistance ranges from immediate life-saving to protracted recovery.
In 2020, violence escalated against civilians in Cameroon’s Far North. Cameroon remains the country second most-affected by the Lake Chad Basin emergency. Ongoing hostilities have uprooted 560,000 people, an increase over 72,000 since October 2019. Armed attacks, abductions, including of children, and the looting and destruction of goods and infrastructure continue to cause physical and psychological trauma. Insecurity is exacerbating already limited access to basic social services such as education and health. Epidemics such as cholera, meningitis and measles are recurrent.
Excess rainfall since July 2020 has caused widespread flooding in five regions of Cameroon. More than 170,000 people were affected in the Far North region alone. The loss of livelihoods due to the armed conflict, the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the destruction of houses, goods, crops and fields to the floods have resulted in a drastic increase in food insecurity. An estimated 630,000 people will be food insecure from June to August 2021, which is a 50 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2020.
What began as a political crisis in the South-West and North-West regions in 2017 has now become a significant, complex humanitarian emergency that displaced over 1 million people. People in rural and hard-to-reach areas are most affected because of limited or no access to medical, nutrition and WASH facilities and limited access to farmland due to insecurity. An estimated 700,000 children are out of school due to the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions. Students and teachers are killed, kidnapped, tortured, caught in crossfire, and subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention.
In the Adamawa, East and North regions, Cameroon hosts 284,000 refugees from CAR. This is placing significant pressure on already limited natural resources and basic social services in host communities and exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities. Seventy per cent of the refugees have no formal education and 46 per cent have no source of income. Girls and young women are more likely to miss out on school, and they are particularly vulnerable to forced and early marriages and other forms of sexual exploitation.
Projected situation in 2021 and beyond
In 2021, 4 million people in Cameroon will need humanitarian assistance. In 2021, Cameroon will be the twelfth country in the world at highest humanitarian risk, with an INFORM index of 6.6 on a scale of 10. The trend is a clear deterioration of the humanitarian risk situation compared to 2020 (twenty-fourth country with a humanitarian risk index of 6 out of 10). Risks are particularly high in the Far North (7.3) North-West (6.5), South-West (6.2) and Est (6.1) regions. The highest risks are linked to conflicts, epidemics and floods. The security situation is expected to continue to deteriorate in the Far North, North-West and South-West regions in 2021, with a conflict risk index of 8 for the Far North and North-West and South-West regions.
Limited humanitarian access due to underfunding, insecurity and poor road infrastructure is also projected to remain a key impediment to reaching people in need. Access by relief organizations will become increasingly more complex and dangerous as security deteriorates and humanitarian organizations are increasingly targeted by non-State armed groups.
Response priorities in 2021
The 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan will prioritize the most vulnerable 2.4 million people based on an analysis of the severity of needs across sectors, with a financial requirement of $360 million. In addition to meeting the most urgent needs, the approach taken in Cameroon recognizes that humanitarian needs are exacerbated by underlying structural causes. When and where appropriate, response activities are planned in complementarity with development and State actors to maximize impact, particularly in geographic areas, boosting the contribution of humanitarian action towards collective outcomes and achieving the SDGs. Protection remains a priority in the humanitarian response in Cameroon.
- 321,886 IDP (IOM, DTM, June 2020); 114,496 Nigerian refugees (UNHCR, September 2020; IOM DTM June 2020); 123,489 returnees (IOM, DTM, June 2020).
- Cadre Harmonisé, Octobre 2020.
- In October 2019, Cadre Harmonisé estimated 324,285 people to be food insecure from June to August 2020.
- 409,000 within the NWSW regions (MSNA, OCHA, August 2020); 361,000 returnees (MSNA, August 2020, OCHA) 302,000 to other regions (5,301 to Adamawa (MIRA, August 2019, UNHCR), 52,931 to Yaoundé, Center (MIRA, August 2020, CHOI); 80,925 to Littoral (MSNA, August 2020, OCHA); 162,726 to West (MSNA, August 2020, OCHA)).
- UNHCR, September 2020.