UNICEF Cameroon Humanitarian Situation Report, February 2018

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 28 Feb 2018

Highlights

• As of 28 February 2018, less than $100,000 has been received, leaving a funding gap of $23.3 million – a serious impact on the capacity to respond to humanitarian needs, particularly with a new crisis emerging in the Anglophone regions

• A high-level mission comprised of the Humanitarian Coordinator and the representatives of UNICEF and UNHCR took place in Bamenda and Mamfe in the North West and South West regions. The mission confirmed the growing concerns over the security situation and the plight of people affected by this crisis.

• Since November 2017, over 12,000 people have reportedly returned to Amchide and Limani, the villages that suffered the brutal attacks by the armed groups affiliated with Boko Haram. Priority needs identified by an exploratory mission are health, education and food.

SITUATION IN NUMBERS

1,810,000 children in need of humanitarian assistance

3,260,000 people in need (Cameroon Humanitarian Needs Overview 2018)

Displacement

241,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (Displacement Tracking Matrix 12, Dec 2017)

69,700 Returnees (Displacement Tracking Matrix 12, Dec 2017)

85,800 Nigerian Refugees in rural areas (UNHCR Cameroon Fact Sheet, Feb 2018)

232,400 CAR Refugees in East, Adamaoua and North regions in rural areas (UNHCR Cameroon Fact Sheet, Feb 2018)

UNICEF Appeal 2018 US$ 25.4 million

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

A joint high-level mission was conducted from 7-9 February to Bamenda and Mamfe in the North West and South West regions, comprising the Humanitarian Coordinator and the representatives of UNICEF and UNHCR, alongside the Director of Civil Protection of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation (MINATD). The mission met with regional, administrative, traditional and religious leaders, as well as NGOs. The mission materialised in light of reports of increased violence and displacements in the region.

The North West and South West regions have historically been underprivileged, compared to the Francophone regions in Cameroon, generating grievances among the Anglophone population. Since October 2016, these frustrations morphed into political demands, leading to protests and strikes. Since the beginning of the crisis, at least 150 people have been killed during the demonstrations and clashes between the armed secessionist groups and military/security forces of Cameroon, including 64 civilians, according to local and international media. Following the declaration of independence of the putative state of Ambazonia by the secessionist movement on 1 October 2017, the situation has further deteriorated and the situation continues to be tense, with four government officials already kidnapped since January 2018. One major impact of this crisis has been the deprivation of access to education for children, with the majority of schools reportedly closed for most of the school year 2016/2017, and many continuing to be closed for the school year 2017/2018. Even with some schools reopening, many parents have decided not to send their children to schools, due to threats by the secessionist elements. According to local authorities, at least 32,000 children have been out of school since November 2017.

Based on the information received during the February high-level mission, as well as a needs assessment conducted by UNICEF in November 2017, UNICEF is developing a strategy to respond to the needs ofthe children affected by the crisis, focusing on providing a protective environment, including to those displaced, where children could engage in educational and recreational activities. Potential partners have been identified and discussions on the collaboration have already been initiated.

The crisis in Far North region continues to affect children and vulnerable populations. A field mission was conducted by UNICEF on 7 February in the Zamai site, Mayo Tsanaga department, to follow up on the response activities for 361 returnees from Nigeria (235 of whom are children) who fled captivity from Boko Haram. Upon arrival, the mission learnt that the Zamai site has received 236 new arrival IDPs since mid-January, who were displaced from Moskota, Zheleved, Nyechewe, and Tchebe-Tchebe villages near the border with Nigeria, which has increased the burden on the host community, despite the ongoing response by UNICEF and other humanitarian partners. Of the 179 children for whom UNICEF partner ALDEPA collected the transfer notes, only 79 children (58 boys and 21 girls) were enrolled in school at the time of the visit. The school located next to the site is currently overcrowded, with 948 students enrolled in a school with the capacity for 360. UNICEF continues to support the multisectoral response for these returnees and explores the ways to fill in the gaps identified.

A joint country office-Maroua sub-office mission has been organised on 8 February 2018 to visit Amchide and Limani. Amchide and Limani are the towns near the Nigerian border that suffered attacks by the armed groups affiliated with Boko Haram between 2014-2017, and this was the first UNICEF mission to this area since the crisis started in 2014 as the area was inaccessible due to insecurity. The impact of the conflict was plainly visible with destroyed houses, deserted shops, hospitals and schools as well as walls with countless gunshot holes. The economic burden of paying rent in the displaced locations, coupled with improved security attributed to the presence of the Rapid Intervention Force, has motivated people to return to these areas since November 2017. According to the multi-sectoral assessment report by the Rapid Response Mechanism supported by international NGOs PUI and ACF conducted in January 2018, there are 8,000 and 4,857 returnees in Limani and Amchide respectively. Needs are significant in all the sectors; however, the priority needs reported by the people were health, education and food. A more detailed needs assessment is planned by UNICEF in April 2018 to better refine its intervention strategy.

In East region, UNICEF participated in the multi-sectoral participatory assessment, Age, Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming (AGDM) assessment, conducted by UNHCR in the villages hosting Central African Republic (CAR) refugees in Batouri, Meiganga, Touboro, Bertoua and Betare Oya communes. Livelihood and empowerment gaps, access to education, health care, and water and sanitation services have been identified as priority needs.

According to local sources, the sexual exploitation of adolescent girls and child labor persist inGaroua Boulai, Betare Oya, Kette and Ngaoui communes, with additional mine sites opening. UNICEF plans to conduct a detailed needs assessment in April and May 2018.

The CAR crisis faces a significant funding gap as the needs transition from humanitarian to longer-term issues of structural development. With humanitarian funding withdrawing, there are no resources available to respond to the needs of new asylum seekers, while continuing to support over 232,000 CAR refugees who remain in Cameroon. In February, UNHCR pre-registered 517 new arrivals who had fled villages in the northwest of the CAR.