• UNICEF undertook the first UN agency mission to Kumbo in North-West region in 2019, enabling essential information on access conditions and the basis for scaled up program response.
• Despite constraints imposed by ‘lockdowns’ on movement in North-West and South-West regions in first half of the month, Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) partners screened 573 children in the South West region for acute malnutrition while, with UNICEF support, a mini-vaccination campaign that immunized 11,043 children aged 6-59 months (90% of the target) against measles & rubella plus vitamin A. Polio coverage was higher, reaching 12,652, children, 96% of the target.
• Major insecurity continues to limit access to safe learning in Logone et Chari and Mayo Tsanaga divisions of Far North region, with only 4 out of 68 schools – previously closed – who have now become operational. In the seven localities supported by UNICEF, 98,990 children including 61,222 girls have been enrolled since classes resumed at the start of the month. During the month, attacks by armed groups resulted in 22 civilians killed, 25 injured and 4 abducted, including two women.
• Lack of funding threatens cholera response in northern Cameroon. Latest MOH reports highlight 586 cases and 32 deaths since 1 January.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
2,300,000 # of children in need of humanitarian assistance
4,300,000 # of people in need (Cameroon Humanitarian Needs Overview 2019)
536,107 # of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-West and South-West regions (IOM Displacement Monitoring, #16)
381,444 # of IDPs and Returnees in the Far-North region (IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix August 2019)
106,418 # of Nigerian Refugees in rural areas (UNHCR Fact Sheet, Sept 2019)
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The extended lockdown imposed in the North West and South West regions which started on 26 August until 13 September, with only a short pause on 7-8 September, seriously constrained humanitarian operations. Most UNICEF partners were obliged to engage in activities which they could carry out safely without physical movements, mainly preparation for the training, refining new agreements, targeting of new intervention areas, in preparation for the resumption of humanitarian assistance after the lockdown. UNICEF Buea put to use its standing Business Continuity Plan (BCP) allowing staff a basic level of operationality during the lockdown in which staff were able to hold meetings at the site, either physically or online, and conducted usual activities that would have been otherwise done in the office.
On 2nd of September 2019 Government launched the new school year in the country. Official data shows that most primary schools in the North West and South West regions remain closed or non-operational. In the first two weeks, characterized by restriction of movement for the population (‘lock-downs’), attendance rate in public primary school was at 4% for both regions with approximately 12,200 students in government schools out of 321,900 expected.
A slight improvement was observed in the South West where, as of the end of September, official sources showed that 25% of primary schools (360 out of 1,427) were operational. The pupil attendance rate in South West region remains low (17%) with 32,575 out of 190,437 expected pupils reported in attendance. In the North West out of 3,137 primary schools, only 55 (1.75%) are operational and less than 6% of the expected primary school students are attending education.
In the neighboring regions of Littoral and West 30,000 primary school aged, all displaced children are reported to have started education in host schools. The situation of younger children is yet to be assessed.
The national government announced the launch of a peace dialogue initiative for the country, including the North West and South West regions. Preparations are ongoing for the dialogue to take place in Yaounde from the 30th of September to 4th of October.
A UNICEF multi-sector team conducted a road mission to Kumbo Town (Kumbo subdivision, Bui division) travelling from Bamenda town on 19 September, the first UN mission to reach this location in 2019. The objective was to discuss with UNICEF implementing partners including Cameroonian Baptist Convention Health Board (CBCHB) who are implementing the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) in Kumbo and Mbiame subdivisions, and Caritas Kumbo, that is implementing water and sanitation activities in Kumbo subdivision. Multiple delays in passing checkpoints along the road led to late arrival with seriously limited time before mandatory safe return to Bamanda. Nevertheless, the team visited one Child Friendly Space (CFS), met with community volunteers, assessed the capacity of malnutrition treatment and vaccination at CBC, and observed the warehouse of Caritas Kumbo. The mission was the first step to expand UNICEF and UN access to hard to reach divisions of North-West region.
Within the framework of strengthening Accountability to Affected Population (AAP), UNICEF partner Reach Out provided 4,969 affected populations with information on how to provide feedback including complaints to humanitarian actors in Ekondo Titi subdivision, Ndian division in the South West Region. Since June, it is reported that 22,739 individuals in 22 communities have been reached through such AAP activities. In September, Reach Out received 17 individual complaints from 11 communities, and is working with these populations to address the issues raised.
In several divisions of Far-North region, the new school year remains heavily constrained by insecurity. Of the 68 non-operational schools in Logone and Chari and Mayo Tsanaga divisions, only 4 (5%) reopened this academic year. In the Far North, 244 teachers who had been initially appointed in the Far North schools, were transferred elsewhere by the Government, accentuating the gap of teachers in this deprived zone. In the Far North, the lack of qualified teachers translates to an overall gap of 3,786 teachers (61%) with teaching tasks left to 4,500 non-qualified instructors (Maîtres des parents).