Humanitarian support to refugees - against all odds: lessons learned from OCG's response to the influx of Central African refugees in Cameroon in 2014

In late 2013 and early 2014, thousands of people fled the Central African Republic (CAR) to neighbouring Cameroon. MSF OCG provided health care to the refugee population in Garoua-Boulai and Gbiti, which was characterized by high mortality rates, malnutrition rates over twice the emergency threshold and an uncontrolled measles outbreak. In March of 2014, MSF, already very engaged in the emergency in CAR, began responding to a massive Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which consumed much of MSF’s emergency human resources, leaving the regular mission in Cameroon to manage the refugee crisis largely itself. This capitalization focuses on four main areas: the operational strategy of the intervention and its effectiveness; communications with external partners; internal communication and decision making; and the ability of the regular mission to engage in similar emergencies. Communications, both internal and external, were known challenges on this mission, and the evaluation commissioners chose to focus on them in order to improve this area in the future. As a result, these elements receive disproportionate attention in this report. This should not be misinterpreted as an indication of the mission’s overall success.

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This publication was produced at the request of MSF OCG, under the management of the Vienna Evaluation Unit. It was prepared independently by Catherine Lalonde.
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