This week’s Monitor features Ambassador Dr Monica Juma, the Cabinet Secretary for Defence in Kenya, who contextualises the relevance of the military in emergencies and the role that it can play in helping to contain the spread and effects of the disease.
This edition also focuses on how the spread of COVID-19 seems to be different in Africa to date, compared to other regions. In this regard, a number of ACCORD colleagues have put their heads together to analyse how and why the disease has taken a different path in Africa – and why its spread is now starting to accelerate.
Lastly, Rumbidzaishe Matambo continues our series of country analysis and writes on how the combination of internal conflict and COVID-19 is causing a double tragedy for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Cameroon.
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Political unrest or violence
Country profile: Conflict and COVID-19: double tragedy for Cameroon – Rumbidzaishe Matambo
The spread of COVID-19 in Cameroon has added additional pressure and strain on a civilian population already faced with worsening internal conflict and a man-made humanitarian disaster. In 2017, low-intensity conflict emerged in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, where several separatist groups launched an armed insurgency against the national government. The conflict heavily restricted movement, effectively putting many urban and rural areas on lockdown long before the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 10 June 2020, Cameroon had a total of 8 929 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The war-ravaged – and thus more isolated – regions account for only 21% of the total COVID-19 cases.
The situation of the civilian population who have fled into neighbouring Nigeria is also dire, due to the effect COVID-19-related measures and restrictions in Nigeria are having on their movements and access to basic services. The pandemic is contributing additional stress to refugees who are already grappling with severe malnutrition, overcrowded camps, lack of adequate health and sanitation facilities.