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YAOUNDE, Cameroon, February 27, 2018/ — Concluding a four-day visit to Cameroon, the United Nations Assistant-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller, calls on the international community and the Government to step up support to humanitarian actions in the country. During the visit she met with the minister of External Relations as well as the Governor of the Far North. She went to Zamai IDP site and Minawao refugee camp to see first-hand the impact of the deteriorating security situation in the Lake Chad basin.

“The Lake Chad crisis and violence in the sub-region are far from over. The international community cannot spare any effort,” said the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator. “Violent attacks by armed groups, mostly affiliated to Boko Haram, have increased over the past year and I have seen its direct impact and growing humanitarian needs in the Far North of Cameroon.”

Cameroon is the country most affected by the regional extension of the conflict with Boko Haram which started in Nigeria’s northeast nine years ago. More than 60 suicide attacks have been conducted in the Far North in 2017, which represents a 50% increase compared to the previous year.

“In Zamai IDP camp, I met a woman called Sara and her baby. She explained that her and her husband had been kidnapped by Boko Haram. She managed to escape but has no idea of her husband’s whereabouts nor whether he is still alive or not. We need to be able to provide food, water and other life-saving assistance, as well as protection, to women and men like Sara and her ten-month-old baby,” explained Mrs Mueller. “The response to increased forced recruitment and violent attacks should also be increased solidarity with those affected by crises.”

“This is an area that needs greater attention, including from donors. Security and access are major challenges but the lack of funding remains, by far, the main impediment to humanitarian aid reaching those most in need,” emphasized Mrs Mueller.

As of today, the Humanitarian Response Plan proposed by UN and NGO partners to respond to the most urgent humanitarian needs in the country have only received 5% of the $305 million required. In Cameroon, 3.3 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance. In the Far North, one person out of three (or 1.5 million people) are now food insecure at crisis and emergency levels.

The UN Assistant-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs visit was also an opportunity to discuss other crises the country is facing, with an increased influx of refugees from the Central African Republic and sociopolitical tensions in the Northwest and Southwest regions.

“The UN remains deeply concerned about the situation in Cameroon, including in the South West and North West. We are again calling on all parties to avoid further escalation of violence and to protect civilian populations,” said Mrs Mueller. “Further fact-finding missions will be taking place as early as next week and we are putting into place assistance to the internally displaced persons, who are estimated in the tens of thousands.”

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