Supporting Internally displaced persons in the North West and South West regions

Published Date: 
Thu, 07/16/2020 - 19:30

Yaoundé - In the context of the current pandemic of COVID-19 which hit Cameroon in March 2020, living conditions for internally displaced persons in regions in crisis are expected to further deteriorate. Cameroon currently has the third-highest number of cases for all of Western and Central Africa, and the risk of further community transmissions remains high.

As of August 2019, around 614,000 forced displacements had been recorded in the North-West, South-West regions, with this figure expected to grow higher given the extremely limited capacity of humanitarian actors to intervene on the field since the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has required a large degree of re-planning on the procurement and distribution of shelter and NFI assistance to maintain the vital hygiene and sanitary requirements as well as social distancing to halt the spread of the disease. Distributions have been re-programmed to limit the total number of beneficiaries present at each distribution. General sensitization including on COVID-19 have also been introduced throughout IOM’s assistance, to ensure that communities are informed of the risks of COVID-19. 

According to the 2020 PiN (Person’s in Need) calculation for the North-West and South-West region, an estimated 519,000 Persons are in Need of Shelter and NFI items. Between the period 23 May to 18 June 2020, IOM through implementing partners SHUMAS and CARITAS have distributed 407 shelter materials with construction tools and Non-Food items (NFI’s) to IDPs. Most beneficiaries had been previously living in the bushes and other spontaneous settlement sites. Vulnerable host community members in Batibo village (North-West region) and Diongo and Ikiliwindi villages (South-West region) were reached, for a total of 2,635 beneficiaries (38 percent in North-West, 62 per cent in South-West).

The fear of contracting COVID-19 and the subsequent closing of schools in March 2020 also drove more than 12,000 individuals to return to North West, South West regions that had fled because of poor security and living conditions, putting additional pressure on host communities. Only a small number of these persons eventually returned to their former locations of displacement following the national authority’s announcement that schools would reopen 01 June 2020 for students sitting end-of-year exams. This situation continues to be monitored by IOM Cameroon.

For more information, please contact Pascale Essama at IOM Cameroon. Email: