While providing tailored lifesaving and protection and assistance in Cameroon, complemented by efforts to build community-based solutions for the attainment of durable solutions, IOM seeks to reduce displacement by addressing the drivers of crises and build resilience, applying integrated approaches that respect humanitarian principles and support transition to recovery and sustainable development. The varied nature of the ongoing crises in Cameroon, from the Lake Chad Basin’s Far-North region, to the North-West, South-West Anglophone regions, to East region’s refugee crisis, requires IOM to adapt response strategies to the specific contexts, strengthening governance and ensuring no one is left behind.
Humanitarian needs in Cameroon remain high. In 2021, an estimated 4.0 million people (or one in six) will be in need of humanitarian assistance as the country has three ongoing humanitarian crises, in addition to a global health crisis, according to the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview.
In the North-West, South-West Anglophone regions, what started in 2017 as peaceful protests against a perceived encroachment of the regions’ cultural practices and autonomy turned into an armed conflict between government defence forces and non-state armed groups (NSAGs), triggering significant internal displacements and related humanitarian needs, with a spike in military operations since December 2019 forcing more individuals to flee their homes.
In the Far-North region, ongoing hostilities and violence continue, where lower magnitude displacements are still triggered by small-scale sporadic attacks by NSAGs and violent extremist organizations, and a recent downturn in returnees due to worsening clashes. Since the beginning of 2020, the region has witnessed continuous hostilities that have uprooted more than 321,886 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 48,769 out-of-camp refugees from Nigeria and 123,489 returnees (DTM Mobility Tracking Round 21). Insecurity in both these regions exacerbates the already limited access of displaced populations to essential social services such as education and health.
Meanwhile, in the East region, there is substantial progress yet to be made toward durable solutions for Central African refugee populations that number over 280,000 (UNHCR), and the country continues to face the enormous challenge of effectively controlling the COVID-19 pandemic whilst ensuring that mobility corridors remain open and negative socio-economic impacts are minimized, with border communities particularly vulnerable. A recent study conducted by IOM to assess the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Cameroon identified a sharp contraction in planned remittances compared to previous years, with significant consequences on those who are reliant on this support. The presence of hazard risks including natural disasters such as flooding means that there is also a greater need for further disaster risk reduction planning in collaboration with government counterparts. However, opportunities are also present to bring meaningful change to Cameroon through coordinated approaches to alleviate immediate suffering while aiding in the transition to integrated recovery solutions and passage to sustainable development.