Since 2014, Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon have continued to wreak havoc in the Lake Chad Basin region, forcing thousands to seek refuge in Cameroon’s Far North region. By January 2019, 99,851 Nigerian refugees, 244,347 internally displaced people and 100,925 returnees live here.
Attacks by armed groups in the Far North have created urgent needs, particularly among women and girls. Limited resources make it difficult to meet the needs of the growing number of displaced people in the region where 2.6 million people are food insecure. Around 1.5 million of them are children.
Many people have lost their civil documentation, and are therefore restricted in their movements. Nearly 36 per cent of school-aged children in the most affected areas do not possess birth certificates, limiting their chances of completing their education.
In the English speaking South West and North West regions of Cameroon, a new crisis started in 2016. It escalated in October 2017, leading to internal displacement of over 437,000 people and around 32,600 Cameroonian refugees registered in Nigeria by UNHCR.
People we helped in Cameroon in 2017
In response to the needs of people fleeing their homes in the Lake Chad Basin area, we opened a country office in April of 2017. Since then, we have responded to the urgent needs of the most vulnerable, displaced people in the Far North region. We opened an office in the South West Region in June 2018 and we are providing an emergency assistance to the displaced populations in the South West and North West regions.
We support local authorities in improving children’ access to quality education: Our teams are:
- training primary school teachers in psychological support
- rehabilitating and equipping classrooms destroyed during the conflict
- distributing learning materials to teachers and school kits to children
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
We identify challenges related to civil documentation and provide free information, counselling and legal assistance to displaced and returnee populations. Our teams:
- visit communities to register cases and counsel displaced people who lack identity documents and birth certificates
- organise group information sessions
- support displaced people who encounter administrative hurdles in accessing civil documentation
- support registrar’s offices with birth certificate registers to facilitate the transcription of birth certificate records
- We also conducted a study on Housing, land and property (HLP) in the region, where our experts are:
- visiting communities to register HLP related cases and counsel displaced people on their HLP rights
- training the humanitarian NGOs on HLP rights as cross cutting issues
- training the local authorities on HLP rights and Collaborative Dispute Resolution.
- Lead a working group on HLP, coordinating with actors to ensure that HLP is integrated as cross-cutting, but also provide technical support to the humanitarian community.
Shelter and settlements
The increasing number of displaced people has created great need for shelter. We work to ensure that displaced people and returnees have dignified shelters for physical protection. Our teams:
- distribute mosquito nets, blankets, sleeping mats, and tools for farming
- provide emergency shelters for displaced populations in informal settings during acute phases of an emergency
- provide material support while constructing permanent shelters for returnees whose homes were destroyed during the conflict
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
We support local authorities in operating and maintaining water systems that provide drinking water. Our teams:
- distribute hygiene kits including items like soap and cloth for filtering water.
- distribute menstrual hygiene kits to women and childbearing age girls
- repair broken boreholes and construct new ones
- train and support Water Management Committees
- support councils with spare parts and borehole maintenance toolkits
- construct emergency and family latrines
- conduct hygiene promotion activities
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO)
- French Development Agency (AFD)
About NRC in (country)
Contact NRC Cameroon
Country directorDavid Manan
NRC alarmed by displacement of 30,000 people from Nigeria to Cameroon
Statement by Eric Batonon, Country Director in Nigeria for the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Nigerian refugees fleeing to Cameroon cannot be sent back
Statement by Eric Batonon, Nigeria Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council:
Stabilisation in the Lake Chad Basin: A Humanitarian Perspective
The international community, donors and governments attending the High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Basin (Oslo II) must draw clear lines to distinguish humanitarian aid from the political and military elements of stabilisation, and reaffirm commitments to meet humanitarian needs and ensure the protection of civilians.