• Latest statistics shared by education authorities for the North-West and South-West regions show that as of 31 January 2020, 19% of the 1,010public primary and 17% of 68 public secondary for the two regions are operational. Of the two regions, the situation in the North West is considerably worse with 91% of primary schools reported nonoperational and only 16% of expected teachers at work.
• In January 2020, 2,323 children (preliminary data) aged 6 to 59 months including 20 Nigerian refugee children from Minawao camp (Far North Region) were admitted in UNICEF-supported health centres in the most affected health districts and 20,081 children aged 6-23 months received micronutrients powder for home-based food fortification in 4 health districts supported by NGOs partners.
• Over 10,600 children in Far North Region benefited from psycho-social services (PSS) in community-based Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) and other secure spaces through UNICEF’s implementing partners IMC,
CLiRA, CODAS Caritas and ALDEPA out of which there were 4,059 new cases in January (2,001 girls and 2,058 boys). These were children registered after having fled the resurgence of attacks on civilian populations by non-state armed groups.
Situation in Numbers
2,000,000 children in need of humanitarian assistance (UNICEF HAC 2020)
3,900,000 people in need (OCHA December 2019)
450,268 IDPs in the NWSW regions (OCHA MSNA, August 2019)
203,634 Returnees in the NW/SW (OCHA December 2019)
270,870 IDPs in the Far North (OIM, August 2019)
110,574 Returnees in the Far North (IOM, August 2019)
Funding Overview and Partnerships
In 2020 UNICEF is appealing for US$ 45,445,000 in support of life-saving services for women and children in Cameroon. In 2019, CERF, DFID (UK), US-OFDA, the Government of Japan, Swedish SIDA, the Spanish National Committee, UNICEF global humanitarian thematic funding partners, were the main contributors to UNICEF Cameroon humanitarian response. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for their continuous support.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In early 2020, the situation of children in Cameroon who are directly affected by armed conflict, violence, flooding, cholera and measles outbreaks remains a high concern. The crisis in the NWSW has had a major impact on the health sector. Some 255 (34%) out 7421 health facilities in both regions NW&SW remain non-functional or only partially functional (absent health personnel, destroyed infrastructure and lack of medical supplies) and access to health care is limited–-including areas under Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) control. Immunization in general and measles prevention have been significantly disrupted as a consequence of the conflict and the risk of outbreaks increased.
Poor sanitation facilities and lack of hygiene along with large numbers of displaced persons living in temporary conditions in rural areas render them susceptible to water born disease and malnutrition. As of December 2019, preliminary data from nutrition cluster partners reveal a very low coverage of the nutrition interventions especially SAM treatment in NWSW and so far, approximately only 19% (479) out of the total estimated SAM caseloads for 2019 (2,500) have accessed treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
While children face a high risk of exposure to violence and resulting trauma this situation is often overlooked. Over 5,000 children have been registered as separated or unaccompanied since 2018. While UNICEF has worked with partners to scale up psycho-social support centres (aka child friendly spaces), this has come under criticism by one or more parties to the conflict leading to the closure of services in one sub-division.
Despite an increase in school attendance in NWSW in the last quarter of 2020, mostly in urban areas, over 70% of children remain out of school, largely attributed to parents’fear for their safety as the three year old crisis shows no sign of resolution. Nationwide, about 1.8 million school aged children in the crisis affected zones of North-west,
South-west, Littoral, West, Far-North, Adamawa and East regions need humanitarian support in education. These multiple crises have significantly weakened the education system in the areas where structural challenges were already present. The most pressing needs for school-age children include access to safe and protective learning environments; relevant quality education provided by teachers and education personnel who possess the necessary knowledge and skills to care for and manage children in distress due to the crises, and teaching/learning materials.
Far North Region continues to face an unprecedented, recurrent and protracted security crisis due to the repeated violent incursions by non-state armed groups, mostly cross-border in origin, in which local populations live in constant fear as they continue to be exposed to acts of kidnappings, killings, burning of villages and pillaging.
The impact on children is especially severe. Over 297,000 people are presently displaced, many with little prospects of returning to home villages and few viable livelihoods opportunities in present circumstances. Health facilities have been destroyed, schools occupied for military purposes in areas where they are the only ‘hard’ infrastructure. There is no end in sight to this multi-country ‘Lake Chad’ crisis.
UNICEF is a major actor in humanitarian response in Cameroon and maintains field staff in five locations: Maroua and Kousseri in Far North Region, Bertoua in East Region and Buea and Bamenda in South-West and North-West regions. Since October 2019, UNICEF has directly assisted over 21,000 people in conditions of immediate humanitarian need as a result of floods and landslides, armed conflict and epidemics. This capacity has drawn on existing emergency stocks positioned at UNICEF field offices as well as UNICEF’s main warehouse in Douala.
However, the above response combined with lack of funding in 2019 has led to this capacity being severely depleted.