On 5 December 2021, clashes over diminishing water resources broke out between herders, farmers and fishermen in Cameroon’s Far North region, the second major outbreak of violence within four months. The situation rapidly deteriorated: 112 villages were burned, over 100 people were wounded, and 44 died. This wave of violence forced tens of thousands to flee into neighbouring Chad within two weeks, while around 40,000 people were displaced within Cameroon.
This conflict is a result of growing communal tensions around the Lake Chad Basin. Grappling with immense challenges including endemic poverty, weak public services and chronic insecurity caused by protracted armed conflicts, these historically under-served areas face increasing environmental degradation, further fuelling food insecurity and competition over scarce resources.
There is an urgent need for targeted assistance and protection of people caught up in this sudden displacement crisis. UNHCR is seeking $59.6 million for its emergency response and for vital protection and assistance work that it plans to carry out, in concert with the Governments and other partners, between January and June 2022.
This appeal is designed to cover the assistance and protection needs of around 100,000 forcibly displaced Cameroonians and host communities, including 60,000 refugees and host communities in Chad and an estimated 40,000 IDPs and affected members of the host population in Cameroon.
The host communities in both countries will benefit from the response, particularly in terms of access to basic public services such as health, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene.
With additional resources, UNHCR will be able to expand registration activities and protection services in Cameroon and Chad, to better assess the estimated affected populations and their needs.
The appeal anticipates $38.8 million of needs in Chad and $20.3 million in Cameroon, and includes $500,000 to reinforce UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for West and Central Africa.
The persisting tensions and the volatility of the situation in the Far North of Cameroon are not conducive for the safe and dignified voluntary return of the populations displaced by the recent crisis. Urgent action is needed to address the root causes of the conflict in order to achieve sustainable peace and solutions.