May 29, 2024

Cameroon Flash Update: Ban on movements and activities in the North-West and South-West


• On 11 September, a non-State armed group (NSAG) announced a general lockdown in the North-West and South-West (NWSW) regions from 15 September to 2 October 2021.

• All schools and community learning spaces were closed, except for some schools in a few urban areas which are operating at less than 60 per cent of their capacity, compared to the first week of the 2021-2022 academic year.

• About 200,000 people missed food assistance due to the interruption of humanitarian activities and food distributions.

• The closure of banks and markets operating at a limited capacity have aggravated food insecurity, increased commodity prices and have an adverse impact on the socio-economic activities.

• Health Cluster partners operating in hard-to-reach or conflict affected areas have not been able to operate mobile clinics or provide life-saving assistance.

• Notable increase in violence, kidnappings and attacks against people defying the lockdown including bike riders, students and teachers were reported.

• OCHA and humanitarian partners continue to advocate with all parties to facilitate humanitarian access to provide life-saving assistance to the most affected people.


On 11 September 2021, a non-State armed group (NSAG) declared a general lockdown in the North-West and South-West (NWSW) regions of Cameroon from 15 September to 2 October 2021. The decision banned all movement, work, or social activity in the two regions. Over weekends, from Friday to Sunday, only taxis and motorbikes can circulate, and people are allowed to go to markets and attend religious services. The announcement explicitly banned humanitarian organisations of conducting activities, with the exception of ambulances for medical emergencies only.

With some local differences and a few exceptions in some urban settings, the ban on movements and activities was widely respected by the population, partly also because of fear of violence or death in case of non-compliance. Private and public transportation services of passengers, goods and services were disrupted, as well as commercial and business operations including markets. Access to basic services including health, education and livelihoods was severely affected.

The lockdown takes place in a context of high insecurity with, in certain areas, frequent use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against military, and armed confrontations between state security forces and NSAGs. This makes humanitarian access very challenging and negatively affects the civilian population in terms of protection violations, limits their access to humanitarian assistance and services, and causes new displacement. Since 15 September, United Nations and humanitarian partners were obliged to fully suspend humanitarian activities and put on hold the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need in both regions.

On the eve of the lockdown, about 700 people fled their villages to West and Littoral regions, and about 1,800 persons moved to urban centers or safer localities within the North-West and South-West. Deprived of humanitarian assistance in the new locations and without access to economic activities, their vulnerabilities are being exacerbated.

Moreover, the lockdown is increasingly impoverishing the affected people, especially those dependent on daily work to survive. With the absence of banking services, risks of resorting to negative coping mechanisms are aggravated.

The humanitarian response, which is already underfunded, is hindered by prolonged delays in the implementation of activities and additional costs related to potential project extensions which further increase costs. As of 28 September, only 15.8 per cent of the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan for the NWSW has been funded.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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