According to the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Cameroon, Matthias N. Zaab, at least 25 aid workers have been kidnapped since the beginning of this year in the country. During the same period, one aid worker was killed and two others injured, highlighting the perils they often face.
The revelation was made on the sidelines of the celebration of the World Humanitarian Day in Yaounde on August, 19, 2022 where different actors used the opportunity amongst others to celebrate local humanitarian actors.
World Humanitarian Day (WHD), held every 19 August, is an annual occasion to increase public awareness about humanitarian assistance worldwide. It is also an opportunity to commemorate humanitarian workers who have been killed and injured in the course of their work, and to honour those who continue to take risks every day to provide life-saving aid to people in need.
The Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon, Matthias Z. Naab, highlights that local actors, often first responders and at the heart of humanitarian responses, are critical to the success of humanitarian action.
“They provide an invaluable understanding of local challenges and potential solutions, are able to mobilize local networks, and offer greater access to affected populations, hence contributing to a more effective, efficient, and sustainable humanitarian response with an enhanced accountability to affected populations.”
Cameroon continues to be impacted by three complex humanitarian crises: the fight against Boko Haram in the Far North, the separatist conflict in the North West and South West and the consequences of the presence of Central African refugees in the East.
In this context, the interventions of humanitarian workers who sometimes work at the risk of their lives, often in complete anonymity, are essential and allow vulnerable populations to regain a minimum of dignity. “ The multiplicity of crises in Cameroon has made our work more difficult and demanding ”, says Matthias N. Zaab.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha), 3.9 million people need humanitarian aid this year in Cameroon. The humanitarian response plan, launched jointly with the Cameroonian government last April and funded to the tune of 376 million FCFA, should enable humanitarian organizations to provide aid to 2.6 million people in need of urgent assistance this year, said Matthias N. Zaab.
“In June 2022, we reached 41% of our goal, i.e. 1.1 million people we were able to assist,” added the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in Cameroon.