Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- In Cameroon, 4.7 million people (including 2.5 million children, 2.4 million women and 587,000 people with disabilities) urgently require humanitarian assistance. Their needs are created by armed conflict, inter-communal violence, the influx of refugees from neighboring countries, disease outbreaks including cholera and measles and seasonal flooding. Increased security incidents and violence hamper humanitarian access and the ability to reach affected populations with life-saving interventions.
- UNICEF will tackle new and protracted humanitarian needs by investing in emergency preparedness, scaling up its field presence and strengthening localization and accountability to affected populations. UNICEF’s programme will strengthen the integration of gender equality, the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse and prevention and response to gender-based violence in emergencies. UNICEF and partners will apply a targeted, multisectoral approach across interventions.
- UNICEF requires US$66.7 million to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance within a context characterized by significant access challenges and a volatile security situation. Child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, and nutrition sectors have the greatest funding needs.
Key planned results for 2023
111,817 children with severe wasting admitted for treatment
190,400 children vaccinated against measles
341,000 children/caregivers accessing community-based mental health and psychosocial support
556,304 children accessing formal or non-formal education, including early learning
Funding requirements for 2023
Country needs and strategy
Cameroon faces multi-faceted humanitarian challenges including Lake Chad Basin conflict, ongoing strife in the North-West and South-West regions, the Central African Republic refugee crisis, and natural hazards notably floods, cholera and Mpox outbreaks. These crises affect about 4.7 million people and 2.5 million children in 2023, with 51 per cent being women/girls. Over two million people are on the move with an alarming 3.2 million people expected to face acute food insecurity, a situation exacerbated by the impacts of global economic downturns, floods, and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Gender-based discrimination against girls/women is aggravated in regions with crises.
In the North-West and South-West regions, over 630,000 individuals are displaced and 86,000 have been forced to seek refuge in Nigeria. In June 2023, Mezam division witnessed clashes between SSFs and Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs), resulting in over 26 deaths and 1,000 people displaced. Despite the efforts of humanitarian workers, needs frequently outstrip available resources and access.
In the Far North region, the LCB conflict coupled with flood, food insecurity, armed conflict and episodic violence continue to result in an uptick in humanitarian needs, a 33 per cent increase compared to 2022 with the Mayo-Sava, Mayo-Tsanaga, and Logone et Chari divisions being most affected. Over 10,000 people were displaced by May 2023.
Cholera and Mpox epidemics have emerged as significant health threats, especially in the Far North, North-West and South-West, West, and Littoral regions. Lack of access to clean water, sanitation and health services is the leading cause of cholera and other diseases in Cameroon. As of 30 June 2023, there have been 19,251 notified cases of cholera resulting in 457 deaths, Also, there were 33 suspected cases of Mpox in the health districts of Mbonge and Kumba with an average national fatality rate of 3.2. Measles is present in all 10 regions. As of June 2023, 99 health districts are in active epidemic with 337 positive cases by Immuno-globin plus (IgM+), 3,497 cases with an epidemiological link, 18 deaths and a fatality rate of 0.46 per cent. These outbreaks underscore the need for increased medical assistance and preventive measures. Approximately 18 per cent of health facilities closed; mobile clinics have attempted to bridge the gap, offering essential health services to remote areas and hard-to-reach communities, yet they remain under-resourced with challenges including attacks on personnel and infrastructure.
Humanitarian actors strive to meet the diverse and growing needs of affected populations despite challenges in accessing certain regions due to security concerns, poor infrastructure, and bureaucratic hurdles.
UNICEF's humanitarian strategy is concurrently tackling new as well as chronic humanitarian needs. It is designed to be agile, risk-informed, and responsive. Through recovery and development assistance, where possible, systems are being strengthened and protracted humanitarian needs met.
UNICEF is focused on scaling up its field presence to identify and respond to the needs of affected populations, including those in hard-to-reach, insecure areas. This is particularly important in North-West, South-West and Far North Regions, where locally tailored negotiations are key to increasing humanitarian access and the delivery of assistance. UNICEF is now the lead of the Localization Working Group in Cameroon and is committed to pursuing a strong localization strategy, in partnership with the Government, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, and people in need of humanitarian assistance. This is critical to navigating complex community dynamics and delivering humanitarian assistance.
To ensure a gender-sensitive response, UNICEF is working to strengthen partners’ capacities in gender-sensitive analysis, the prevention of gender-based violence and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. UNICEF is a member of the Accountability to Affected Populations Working Group, led by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Accountability to affected populations will be assured through improved reporting mechanisms and systematic third-party monitoring in hard-to-reach areas.
UNICEF will provide access to quality treatment for children suffering from severe wasting. To reduce malnutrition in the long-term, UNICEF’s response aims to increase the proportion of infants aged 0-5 months who are exclusively breastfed to 46 per cent and the proportion of children aged 6-23 months who are receiving the minimum dietary diversity to 25 per cent (by 2025). To achieve this and to reduce the need for emergency treatment in the long term, UNICEF will apply a multisectoral approach using the health, food and social protection platforms.
UNICEF will continue to meet sector and cluster lead responsibilities in education, WASH, nutrition and the child protection area of responsibility. In Cameroon, UNICEF is currently piloting the Blueprint for Joint Action with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in East Region. UNICEF is also a member of the task force on Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus established by the United Nations Country Team to support the implementation of inter-agency humanitarian and development initiatives.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in Cameroon; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.