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In conflict zones, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes to become more widespread starting in February

  • Key Message Update
  • Cameroon
  • January 2024
In conflict zones, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes to become more widespread starting in February

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Area-level outcomes for Logone-et-Chari, Mayo-Sava, and Mayo-Tsanaga divisions in the Far North region are expected to deteriorate from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) beginning in February. Consecutive seasons of below-average cereal harvests caused by conflict and insecurity continue constraining food availability at the household level, with many unable to meet their basic food needs from their own production, as was before the conflict. Furthermore, reliance on the market for basic grains has significantly increased due to the early depletion of cereal stocks. This, combined with rising food prices, is forcing many poor households to begin adopting negative coping mechanisms and is expected to deteriorate further towards the start of the lean season in June, when dependence on markets for food increases, and food prices rise further. As a result, an increasing proportion of the population is expected to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.
    • In the Northwest and Southwest regions, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes have persisted since November, months before the lean season, driven by ongoing conflict, insecurity, increased reliance on food purchases, and high food prices. Prices for most cereal crops are increasing and above average in all markets monitored by FEWS NET. In the city of Bamenda, imported rice prices are, on average, 10 percent higher than last year and over 35 percent higher than the average price in 2020. Rural markets are seeing higher rice price trends due to greater transportation costs and insecurity-related supply disruptions. These atypically high prices are expected to push more households into Crisis (IPC Phase 3), with many forced to reduce meal frequencies and increase their reliance on debt. The population in Crisis is likely to increase further during the peak of the lean season between March and May. A small proportion of households with severely deteriorated livelihoods is expected to experience Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes and will likely resort to selling any remaining productive assets or begging.
    • Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected until May 2024 in the divisions hosting the most refugees from the Central African Republic: Mberé (Adamawa) and Kadey and Lom-et-Djerem (East). The presence of refugees has increased demand for essential items and staple foods, pushing prices significantly above average and putting pressure on host households’ livelihoods. Rising fuel and transportation costs are also increasing food prices. The oversupply of labor and heightened competition over natural resources and employment opportunities have reduced daily wages by 20-30 percent compared to a normal year. Incomes from petty trade and firewood and charcoal sales remain limited due to a lack of start-up capital. Many refugee and host households can only meet their minimum food needs, struggling to afford essential non-food expenditures. Very poor (mostly refugee) households are likely experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, though they comprise less than 20 percent of the division-level populations. These households are likely engaging in severe coping measures, such as removing children from school and consuming seed stocks for the 2024 cropping season.
    • In Yaoundé and Douala, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to persist. In these cities where most poor households rely on food purchases, seasonally rising and above-average staple food prices are expected to continue driving negative coping, such as reducing meal portions, the number of meals, and expenses on non-food needs. With no conflict or insecurity in the rest of the country, households are expected to continue experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes until mid-2024. Despite higher prices, many poor households in conflict-free zones will likely be able to maintain normal access to food and essential non-food needs without resorting to unsustainable coping strategies. This is due to an average availability of own production and income from typical sources. 

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Cameroon Key Message Update January 2024: In conflict zones, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes to become more widespread starting in February, 2024.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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