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Crisis response summary: Nigeria - influx of returnees from Cameroon

Date added

22 January 2016


In July 2015, Cameroon announced it was forcibly sending home as many as 15,000 Nigerians who entered its territory fleeing attacks by the Islamist group Boko Haram.

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These Nigerians, who had not formerly applied for asylum in Cameroon, had been living within host communities or had taken up temporary shelter in fields along the border region,in the hope of returning when the violence subsided. By the end of July and early August, security forces began deporting them, ostensibly over fears that they could have ties to Boko Haram, which had been responsible for a recent string of suicide bombings and other deadly attacks in Cameroon’s Far North Region. On 24 August, Save the Children alerted the Start Fund, noting that 12,000 returnees had been displaced in Nigeria for weeks, lacked essential personal belongings, and lacked basic services as they were being relocated by the government within camps and makeshift settlements.

On 26 August, 49.5 hours after the Start Fund alert, £161,812 was awarded to Save the Children to address needs related to Protection (through its local partner, CHAD) and WaSH (through its local partner, EYN) within three host communities (Semari, Umarari and Malari) and five camps (Gubio camp, Government College Camp, EYN Centre Camp,Sanda Kyarimi camp, ATC camp).

Save the Children experienced several challenges during implementation. Implementation took place within a highly volatile security situation characterised by frequent bomb attacks by Boko Haram, which, which closed the field office and halted the project for an entire week on one occasion and caused disruptions to the movement of procured items on 21 and 22 September.

The situation also required security checks on aid recipients before they could receive items, causing fatigue and frustration amongst the population. Additionally, a choler aoutbreak in the camps posed a serious threat, with 600 cases and 15 deaths reported as of 26 October. Save the Children expanded its hygiene promotion activities to more camps and communities to help mitigate this threat.

This project reached 20,000 people (an estimated 50% female, 50% male) with £149,861, 16,572 more than planned due to cost savings and favourable exchange rates, and 8,000 more than the estimated number of returnees, given that activities also reached host communities. This project targeted IDPs who had not benefited from basic services,particularly the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied children, widows, lactating mothers, families with malnourished children, child-headed households, and mothers with children under 5 years of age. Children under 18 (estimated at 40%) and people over 50 (estimated at 10%) together made up 50% of people reached.

Download the Crisis Response Summary