November saw a deterioration of the security context in the Far North, as the dry season brought an increase in improvised explosive devices (IED) and attacks along the main axes, rendering many areas hard to reach. UNICEF and partners are seeking alternate means to ensure their ability to reach vulnerable children safely.
· The Education, Child Protection and C4D programs launched the ECHO- funded Children of Peace integrated project with schools. The project aims at improving security, training teachers to provide · psycho-social support and providing children who have experienced violence with have access to a range of services, from counselling to reintegration assistance.
· A nutrition survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF showed that SAM rates are close to the emergency threshold of 2% in Logone, Chari and Adamawa, which underscores the need to extend the current coverage of the nutrition program to these areas.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Over the past year, the ongoing Boko Haram conflict in the Lake Chad Basin has caused the continuous flow of refugees from Nigeria to the Far North.
While the population within the camp has grown since January 2016 to 59,581 Nigerian refugees in Minawao camp, what is of even greater concern is that 26,743 refugees are not registered and live within host communities (DTM 5, IOM, October 2016). Currently the number of IDPs in the Far North is around 198,889 (DTM 5, IOM October 2016) – 67% of whom are children.
Many of the refugees and IDPs are moving into areas with very limited resources, putting pressure on host communities that are already facing nutrition, WASH, health, and education challenges.
The regions of East and Adamawa continue to face the presence of CAR refugees who are further settling into the host communities. The flow of refugees remains relatively small, but continuous, with approximately one hundred new arrivals per month. A total of 274,090 CAR refugees are identified in Cameroon, with 75,815 refugees in the refugee sites and the majority, 183,330, in host communities in the East, Adamawa and North regions.
The situation is compounded by the continuing impoverishment of host communities and first refugees, resulting in increased food insecurity in households and a deterioration in the nutritional status of children, as corroborated by the recent nutritional surveys (SMART, SENS).
This has led to a movement of refugees from the host communities to UNHCR sites to escape food insecurity. However, this has not significantly reduced the socio-economic pressure on host communities, who continue to receive new refugees from CAR. This finding comes at a time when humanitarian actors face a low availability of financial resources to respond effectively to the crisis in both the East and Adamawa regions, to the point that some humanitarian actors are considering targeting their limited resources to the most vulnerable refugees.
Concern is growing in the fields of Protection, Nutrition, Education and Health in terms of sectoral needs. In terms of Child Protection, cases of sexual violence have been observed among girls in host families, indicating a need for a more comprehensive assessment of the phenomenon in order to ensure an appropriate response. The limited health care services, particularly for vaccination and reproductive health, are further stretched due to the additional demand from the refugee populations.
UNICEF and UNHCR are strengthening their operational capacities for improved assessments of the situation and to adapt the response on the ground. UNICEF has deployed new staff to the Bertoua Field Office to strengthen interventions and to improve the resilience of systems and communities, on the basis of a more thorough assessment of the situation of children in the affected communities. These efforts are hampered by the deterioration of security conditions along the border and the reduction in financial assistance, leading to a drastic reduction of humanitarian assistance by certain strategic partners or the withdrawal of others.
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