The Government of Cameroon with the United Nations and non-governmental partner organizations launched on 3 January in Yaounde a US$ 310 million response plan to provide life-saving assistance to 1.2 million people in Cameroon’s northern and eastern regions.
“Cameroon continues to confront a complex crisis deeply affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people,” said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms. Najat Rochdi. “The Government and people of Cameroon are showing great hospitality to hundreds of thousands of Nigerian and Central African refugees. We call for the renewed engagement of the humanitarian partners and international donors to match this generosity and assist the people most in need.”
In 2017, almost three million people in Cameroon are expected to be in need of assistance. Around 2.6 million will face crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity, mostly in the arid Sahel belt of the northern regions. Malnutrition remains equally high, affecting some 200,000 children. Cameroon also hosts some 360,000 refugees from neighbouring Central African Republic and Nigeria, and the number of internally displaced people has more than doubled in 2016 to almost 200,000 people.
“The crisis is most acute in the Far North region where violence and insecurity have a terrible impact on civilians,” said Ms Rochdi. “Thousands of families had to flee their homes finding refuge in villages that also are on the brink of crisis. Across the region, commercial activities have taken a major hit, famers were unable to attend to their fields. The resulting emergency continues to cause unacceptable human suffering, with children and women being the most vulnerable. These communities are in dire need of immediate, life-saving aid.”
The Far North is also hosting 86,000 refugees from Nigeria, the majority of them staying in the Minawao camp. Cameroon’s eastern region continues to host 275,000 refugees from the Central African Republic.
“As humanitarians, we will do our part and deliver life-saving aid to the children, women and men in need,” said Ms Rochdi. “But deep-rooted vulnerability in the region, caused by poverty, insecurity and the impact of climate change, can only be addressed in a joint effort. And together with all partners, we will work towards shifting from providing aid to ending needs.”
The 2017 response plan requires US$310 million to target 1.2 million people with assistance. While covering the immediate needs of the most vulnerable, the response plan also emphasises complementary action and cooperation with government and development partners.
“The Government of Cameroon is grateful to all partners who in a spirit of action and close cooperation, are supporting the people of Cameroon, sometimes by risking their lives,” said René Sadi, Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization. “We would like to move increasingly from emergency assistance to development support. I therefore invite all partners to reinforce the host communities’ resilience making them less vulnerable to crisis situations”.
Over the last three years, humanitarian needs and financial requirement in Cameroon have steadily increased leading to a significant scale up of response capacity and number of partners. Budget constraints however caused significant gaps across all sectors. In 2016, only 64 per cent of the required US$ 232 million were funded.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).