Yesterday, the humanitarian community in Cameroon launched an Emergency Response Plan to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs in the south-west and north-west regions of the country. The Plan, which is seeking US$15 million to deliver life-saving assistance and prevent further hardship for the affected population, is targeting 160,000 internally displaced people (90 per cent of whom are located in the south-west region) for an initial period of three months.
The response will require a flexible approach to quickly adapt to an unpredictable context and rapidly evolving displacement patterns. The financial requirements for the response may subsequently require adjustments in the coming months.
The situation in the south-west and north-west remains primarily a political and human rights crisis, but is increasingly having humanitarian implications. Recent needs assessments indicate that at least 160,000 people have been internally displaced in the two affected regions, and they need humanitarian and protection assistance over the next three months. In addition, at least 21,000 Cameroonians have been registered as refugees in Cross River, Benue and Akwa Ibom States in Nigeria.
The crisis in the south-west and north-west regions is taking place against a backdrop of several other humanitarian emergencies that are affecting 3.3 million people across the country, compounding pre-existing vulnerabilities. Since 2016, political and social instability, exacerbated by sporadic violence, has had a negative impact on the civilian population of Cameroon’s South-West and North-West Regions, hosting four million inhabitants (16 per cent of the total population). In November 2017, the socio-political crisis progressively translated into insecurity and armed violence. Since then, the escalation of tension and upsurge in hostilities between non-state armed groups and defence and security forces have triggered humanitarian needs across the two regions, linked to significant internal displacement.
In recent months, the epicentre of the crisis moved from Bamenda (North-West) to Mamfe and Kumba (South-West). All divisions in the South-West region, host to more than 1.4 million inhabitants, are affected by the crisis.
The number of households forced to flee their villages – or the country – in search of safer areas has rapidly and steadily increased since November 2017. Recent needs assessments report that at least 160,000 people have been internally displaced in the two affected regions and would need humanitarian and protection assistance over the next three months. In addition, more than 21,000 Cameroonians have been registered as refugees in Cross River, Benue and Akwa Ibom States in Nigeria.