In March and April, the CCCM addressed the increased need to focus on prevention and mitigation measures across camps and camp-like settings in the COVID-19 context. There is an urgent need to decongest overcrowded IDP camps where physical distancing measures are extremely challenging to implement due to the limited amount of space per person. This is particularly pressing for COVID-19 prevention, as overcrowding heightens the risks of spreading pathogens and disease outbreaks.
Moreover, since the beginning of the year at least 15 fire outbreaks have been recorded in camps and camp-like settings, affecting more than 15,000 people in total. Fire outbreaks are also linked to congestion in camps, with makeshift shelters built in close proximity to one another and leading to the rapid spread of fire.
In March, partners also registered 2,211 new arrivals across Bama, Gwoza, Pulka and Ngala (Borno State), overstretching resources in already overcrowded reception centres.
Partners continued to implement CCCM activities either through mobile facilitation or remote management and support to 157 sites hosting 792,000 individuals across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states. This implementation strategy was adopted to ensure continuity of critical humanitarian services to the most vulnerable populations during the lockdown measures and movement restrictions imposed by the State Government to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Throughout March and April, CCCM partners ramped up COVID-19 prevention and response activities in camps and camp-like settings. Camp management agencies ensured all IDPs have access to information on COVID-19 preventive measures and referral pathways for reporting suspected cases. CCCM teams also raised awareness based on the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials provided by the Health and WASH sectors in multiple local languages. CCCM partners, together with community leaders and representatives, also carried out virtual coordination and camp management committee meetings, motorized campaigns, focus group discussions (FGDs), and awareness raising sessions to promote community engagement and information sharing. The Sector also prioritized hygiene promotion activities emphasizing hand washing.
Partners are constructing quarantine shelters in Banki, Pulka and Gwoza (which are all border areas receiving refugees from neighbouring Cameroon) in Borno State while several other locations await provision of land by local authorities to enable construction. The CCCM Sector drafted Standard Operating Procedures for managing quarantine centres together with Health partners. Partners also set up hand washing stations across camp and camp-like settings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
In Bakassi IDP camp, Borno State, CCCM partners are piloting an awareness survey on community response, containment methods and referral pathways for preventing and responding to COVID-19. In Banki, the first group of 297 refugee returnees from Cameroon completed their initial 14 days in the quarantine safe space, and have joined their families in Bama, Pulka and Gwoza.
To prepare, respond and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of CCCM technical working group meetings were held. The Borno State Government passed a law limiting movements into IDP camps, leading CCCM partners to design a business continuity plan (BCP) in accordance with the guiding principles of the Government and WHO to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CCCM Sector and its partners rolled out COVID-19 Sector Guidelines, in line with business continuity planning.
In March and April, fire outbreaks in camps affected 2,358 households, mainly in Monguno and Ngala LGAs of Borno State. The recent fire outbreak in Ngala led to tensions between the IDP community and humanitarian actors, resulting in a temporary suspension of humanitarian activities, including the provision of emergency shelter and non-food items (NFIs) to the victims, as well as to the most vulnerable population. A committee was tasked to investigate and address the causes of repeated fire outbreaks in the camp. Camp decongestion was one of the key recommendations included in the committee’s findings. Moreover, CCCM partners carried out more than 50 sensitization campaigns on preventing and fighting fire outbreaks.
The use of feedback mechanisms, such as suggestion boxes, voice recorders and complaints and information desks, continued. In March and April, more than 3,500 complaints were received, including 764 that were addressed and closed. Some 2,817 complaint cases are still pending.
Site infrastructure assessments were conducted, identifying shelter reinforcement kits and basic NFI kits as the major gaps that need to be addressed ahead of the upcoming rainy season. CCCM teams have initiated rainy season preparedness measures such as identifying shelters in need of reinforcement and those located in waterlogged areas.
The CCCM Sector will continue to advocate for urgent identification and allocation of additional land to decongest overcrowded camps across Borno State, which heightens risks of disease and fire outbreaks, as well as protection-related concerns.
CCCM Sector will continue to scale up operations and preventive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in camps and camp-like settings through community engagement and awareness, distribution of IEC materials, focus group discussions on physical distancing, sanitation campaigns, camp level coordination meetings, and committee training using WHO/ Health and WASH Sector guidelines.
In regards to COVID-19 preparedness, prevention and response, CCCM partners will continue to monitor the movement of persons and coordinate with relevant health authorities to facilitate referral to facilities including quarantine spaces when necessary.
Sector partners will continue to conduct enhanced community risk communication and awareness sessions and the distribution of COVID-19 awareness campaign materials. Plans to include key community representatives such as religious leaders and opinion shapers from the community in amplifying sensitization and awareness on COVID-19 will be considered in consultation with NEMA and SEMA after Ramadan.