Nearly 200,000 Internally Displaced in Cameroon: IOM

Cameroon – Some 198,899 people or 35,360 households are now internally displaced in Cameroon’s Far North region, mainly due to the Boko Haram insurgency, according to the fifth round of IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). 

An additional 26,743 unregistered refugees (5,070 households) and 36,068 returnees (6,946 households) were also identified by the DTM in the region, while more than 59,000 refugees are now currently living in Minawao refugee camp.

The displacement was triggered by violence that spread from northeast Nigeria to Cameroon and neighbouring countries. In November 2015, IOM responded to the need for accurate and up-to-date information on displacement in Cameroon’s Far North region by establishing the DTM to inform the response of the government and the humanitarian community.

This fifth round of the DTM is based on data collected between 19 September and 10 October 2016 in 543 villages and in six departments of the Far North region, as well as household interviews with over 1,000 families. The report provides information on the number and location of internally displaced persons (IDPs), displacement trends and processes, socioeconomic conditions of IDPs, and demographics.

The DTM program is implemented in close collaboration with local, national and regional authorities, as well as with the humanitarian community. Its methodology involves the training and deployment of data enumerators to collect information directly down to the smallest local government unit to provide the most accurate information possible on displacement and human mobility.

Compared to the previous DTM round in August 2016, these findings show a 10 percent increase in IDPs and an 80 percent growth in unregistered refugees, as well as a 13 percent rise in returnees. Since the DTM was first conducted in Cameroon, the population tracked increased by approximately 30 percent.

The displacement in the Far North region continues to affect children disproportionally. An estimated 67 percent of the displaced are under 18 years old, and the great majority of displaced households have children (98 percent).

“Humanitarian actors continue to see an increase in displacement that calls for the provision of urgent aid,” noted IOM Cameroon Chief of Mission Roger Charles Evina. “The joint efforts of the authorities, humanitarian partners and donors remain vital to ensure that the basic needs of populations affected by the violence are met,” he added.

Nearly half of the population tracked by the DTM (48 percent) currently resides in the Logone-et-Chari Department, which borders the Lake Chad and Borno State in Nigeria. Overall, 90 percent of the tracked population resides in the Departments bordering Nigeria and most affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

An estimated 92 percent of the displaced population was displaced by the insurgency and 8 percent by flooding and other natural disasters. An estimated 45 percent of the current population was displaced in 2016, while 28 percent was displaced in 2015, 22 percent in 2014 and 5 percent before 2014.

The DTM report also reveals that the majority of those internally displaced, 72 percent, live in host communities, while 15 percent live in rented housing. Nine percent live in spontaneous settlements, while 2 percent stay in collective centres. The remaining 2 percent are living in the open.

Within the framework of the DTM, IOM Cameroon conducts return intention surveys. The second survey took place in October 2016 and highlighted that an estimated 23 percent of the displaced population intended to return to their place of origin, while 7 percent indicated that they would leave their area of displacement for another location, and 71 percent indicated their intention to remain at their displacement site.

Returns are primarily prevented by the fear and trauma associated with the conflict and displacement (46 percent), a feeling of security in the village of displacement (18 percent), and the limited presence of armed forces in the area of origin (12 percent).

People interviewed said that they would consider returning home if security forces were present in the area of origin (40 percent), humanitarian assistance was provided in the area of origin (23 percent), and access to basic services in the area of origin was improved (14 percent). 

This round of the DTM was supported by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

The full DTM report can be found on

For further information please contact Roger Charles Evina at IOM Cameroon, Tel. +237 652 234 640, Email: or