Situation overview

Cameroon currently hosts refugees from the Central African Republic and Nigeria, as well as a number of people internally displaced by cross-border fighting between Boko Haram, attacking from Nigeria, and Cameroon coalition forces.   

In response to a rebellion led by Séléka rebels against the government of François Bozizé of the Central African Republic the security situation started to deteriorate in 2014. Attacks against civilians and a conflict increasingly developing along ethnic lines caused large numbers of CAR nationals to flee to surrounding countries. More than 160,000 found refuge in Cameroon, which has hosted CAR refugees since 2004. As of January 2017, there are 276,000 CAR refugees spread across the East, Adamawa, and North regions of Cameroon. The majority are staying in host communities, some of the refugees live in camps.  

At the same time as the worsening of the situation in CAR, the Boko Haram militia started attacking and abducting civilians in Nigeria. These attacks, together with cross-border fighting between coalition forces and Boko Haram, generated refugee flows from Nigeria to Cameroon, and displaced many Cameroonian nationals. As of January, 2017, there are 86,000 Nigerian refugees and 199,000 IDPs in the Extreme North region of Cameroon.

These two protection and displacement crises are made worse by chronic food insecurity and malnutrition, especially in the Extreme North region. The influx of refugees and IDPs has overstretched the resources of the host communities which have welcomed them, and as a result humanitarian needs have increased substantially. According to OCHA, in 2017, 2.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance today in Cameroon. The highest needs are in the areas of protection, food security, and malnutrition, as well as water and sanitation (WASH), shelter, livelihoods, health and education.


LWF Response

In the East, Adamawa, and North regions, LWF has been assisting refugees from CAR and vulnerable members of the host communities since October 2014 with:

  • Food security
  • Livelihoods, including vocational skills training, business skills, and support and training for agro-pastoral livelihoods.
  • Improving access to clean water
  • Improving hygiene, including access to proper sanitation and training of proper hygiene
  • Peace-building and social cohesion, which is done by facilitating dialogue, working with intercommunity peace forums, organizing intercultural events, and supporting radio programs promoting peace

In the Extreme North region, LWF is assisting IDPs and Nigerian refugees since October 2016 with:

  • Improving access to clean water
  • Improving access to sanitation facilities
  • Improving hygiene
  • Promoting peace and social cohesion, particularly through awareness raising and dialogue facilitation
  • Supporting provision of psychosocial support services through capacity building of local churches

The majority of these activities have been implemented directly by LWF World Service and in close collaboration with local LWF member churches, who have provided valuable logistical assistance and support. LWF has been training member church staff in provision of psychosocial support services.


Funding Partners

  • Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • US - Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM)


Update 8. February 2017