Food Coalition

Revised humanitarian response Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Cameroon

Cameroon remains affected by three major crises, namely the Boko Haram insurgency in the Far North, Central African refugees in the eastern part of the country, and the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions, in addition to being prone to natural disasters (droughts in the Sahelian areas, floods). Humanitarian access remains difficult in remote areas, depriving a large numbers of people of basic amenities and food aid. Insecurity in the Far North and blockages by armed groups in the North-West and South-West, have led to significant population displacements and forced humanitarian actors to suspend some of their activities, which has worsened the food security situation of the most vulnerable populations. These factors are significantly affecting people’s livelihoods, exacerbating their vulnerabilities and eroding their resilience.

Following the first reported cases of COVID-19 in the country (6 March 2020), the Government put in place urgent and essential containment measures, including movement restrictions, limited transport, closure of land and sea borders (except between the North- and South-West regions and Nigeria), which have significantly affected the availability of and access to the production of food commodities. However, as certain measures have recently been lifted (May 2020), only 17 percent of the population has reported constraints in accessing markets. Overall, the effects of COVID-19 and the related containment efforts are expected to affect the food security and livelihoods of already vulnerable populations in the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic has coincided with the harvest of the short cropping season in bimodal agroclimatic areas and with the onset of the main agricultural season in the northern regions, as well as transhumance movements towards the north. While precipitation and vegetation development are expected to be above average across the country, market disruptions and movement restrictions could affect planting. The success of the upcoming cropping season is crucial for the majority of rural populations as well as the functioning of local markets.

The livestock value chain has been severely affected as well. In northern areas, limited availability of meat has been observed in markets while animal diseases have been spreading, and the transport of animals has been hindered by the restrictions in place.

Staple food prices have been rising sharply in the last three months; in May, for instance, the price of cassava had reached its highest level since 2012. Price hikes are due to the interruption of food imports, restrictions on the marketing of locally produced foods but also traders who have increased prices of certain foodstuffs compared with the seasonal average. Along with limited labour opportunities, this has eroded households’ purchasing power, resulting in the adoption of negative coping mechanisms by the majority of the population.

While the latest Cadre Harmonisé report (March 2020) indicated that 2.1 million people were projected to face acute food insecurity at crisis and worse levels during June–August 2020, a more recent analysis conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development found that nearly 4.9 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity at crisis and worse levels as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – more than double the previous figure.

Maintaining and upscaling humanitarian food security interventions for the most vulnerable populations, together with the Health Sector’s efforts to reduce the spread of the disease, is crucial. The Food Security Sector analysed the potential impact of COVID-19 in order to ensure continued support to the most vulnerable people and anticipate actions to address the effects of the pandemic.

The country’s most affected regions with people most in need of assistance due to the cumulative effects of multiple shocks and existing weaknesses are the following: Adamawa, East, Littoral, North, North-West, South-West and Far North. These regions all have high numbers of IDPs and refugees due to the various ongoing crises. Displaced populations, especially IDPs, are being supported by host communities, which has become more difficult due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, severely affecting livelihoods with limited access to basic commodities. Targeted households will be selected in urban (particularly in the Centre and Littoral regions) and rural areas affected by containment measures.

Priority Areas of work: Global Humanitarian Response Plan
SDG: 1. No Poverty, 2. Zero Hunger, 5. Gender Equality, 16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Level: Country
Country: Cameroon
Budget: USD 22.75 million

Action Sheet:  Cameroon_CB0192EN.pdf

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