Escalating crisis in southwest and northwest of cameroon a highly worrisome situation
More than 160,000 people have been displaced, dozens killed and attacked as tensions are rising in the southwest and northwest regions of Cameroon.
A total of 3.5 million people are affected by this crisis – 16 per cent of Cameroon’s population. Women and girls are particularly affected by violence. More than 40 schools have been attacked by armed groups and for nearly two years, access to school for youths and children has been highly disrupted. The economic situation is going through a major decline in these regions.
“The situation is highly worrisome. CARE and other humanitarian organisations are urgently calling for more funds to address the urgent and recovery needs of people, be they displaced or hosting displaced populations,” says Anne Perrot-Bihina, CARE Cameroon’s country director. “Many have lost family members and basic belongings. They need a safe place to stay, food, clean water, medical assistance and psychosocial support. They also urgently need protection and support for economic and educational recovery.”
Demonstrations and strikes started in October 2016. Since then, violent outbreaks have become more frequent. In recent months, the escalation of tension and upsurge in hostilities between non-state armed groups and defence and security forces have triggered humanitarian needs across the southwest and northwest regions of Cameroon.
The majority of the displaced families have found refuge in the forest and are constantly moving to escape clashes between non-state armed groups and security forces. So far, more than 21,000 Cameroonians have also been registered as refugees in Nigeria.
CARE has been working in Cameroon since 1978, focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention, sexual and reproductive health; rural development and resilience; sustainable access to water, hygiene and sanitation; and humanitarian response.
CARE presently provides recovery interventions in the eastern region of Cameroon to refugees from the Central African Republic and their host communities and in the far north region to internally displaced people by the Lake Chad conflict and their host communities.
Now, CARE is monitoring the situation closely.
“We are particularly concerned about the situation of women and girls, who are always specifically affected by violent conflicts and who are forced to live unprotected in the rainforest or in degraded urban settings,” says Perrot-Bihina.
CARE’s team in Cameroon is exploring with partners and local NGOs how to best respond to address the enormous needs.
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