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$299M needed as OCHA calls on the international community to assist Cameroon

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA), Mark Lowcock has called on the international community to increase awareness of the humanitarian problem, improve the financing of humanitarian operations and persuade all parties to respect international law and to provide, safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian access in Cameroon.

“It is in no one’s interest to see the humanitarian situation spiral out of control,” the Under-Secretary-General for OCHA told some member states of the United Nations Security Council Monday as they held an informal meeting on to discuss the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Anglophone region of Cameroon.

Cameroon is facing worsening violence and conflict. As at now, 4.3 million people need humanitarian assistance across the country, a 30 per cent increase on last year; meaning one Cameroonian in six needs humanitarian assistance and protection. More than half of them are children. Eight regions out of ten are affected by one of three concurrent humanitarian crises.

Mr. Lowcock focused on the humanitarian situation in the North-West and South-West regions has rapidly deteriorated.

“This year, United Nations and NGOs are looking for $299 million to reach 2.3 million people, including one third of them in the North-West and South-West regions. Only $38 million have been received so far, less than 13% of what we require. Half of that money was received for the North-West and South-West crisis, and most of that was allocated through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF),” he said.

There are four critical sectors that need funding; education, health, WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and nutrition.

The crisis in the North-West and South-West regions started with peaceful protests in the English-speaking regions but has now turned violent. It was one of the fastest growing displacement crises in Africa last year.

For the past three years, the population has been subjected to ongoing violence and attacks by armed actors. The level of the crisis today is more alarming than ever. Both the humanitarian and the security situation continue to deteriorate and run the risk of spiraling out of control, including in neighbouring departments, namely the Littoral and West.

Members of the United Nations Security Council held an informal meeting to address the underlying causes of the current crisis in Cameroon.

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