Trip Start Feb 02, 2008
16Trip End May 03, 2008
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This copy email ref our decision made today NOT to respond in CAMEROON may be of some interest:
I am writing to inform you of the above decision, taken by me this morning after further consultation last night and this morning with both Jenny Lamb (with fresh information) in Kousseri and Nick Ireland here in Dakar.
I will briefly explain the rationale.
A fuller report on the details of this decision and on the context will follow from Jenny Lamb.
whilst some needs DO exist and are likely to continue to for a few weeks, the population are more likely to settle in the 2-5-10,000 region, rather than in the 10-20-50,000
the activities of other agencieswho are present and registered in Cameroon, are likely to be sufficient to meet the majority of these needs, and HCR ought to be able to pick up responsibility for the co-ordination
THIS IS NOT a major crisis (in either scale or duration) requiring large agencies to establish from scratch offices and presence on the ground.
our priority focus must remain E Chad. In order to operate in Cameroon rapidly, we would have to draw in mid-level tech staff from Chad. This would be counterproductive to our capacity to potentially deteriorating sitn in E Chad.
the technical capacity which we could for a short period offer to other agencies already licenced to operate in Cameroon can be sourced by them elsewhere and is therefore not critical.
One of our particular strengths is in camp water supply and distribution, and sanitation and hygiene. The HCR/govt proposed site for 30k people is in our view : i) excessive to total probable requirements; ii) a very significant investment since there is NOTHING there; iii) given the fluidity of the sitn (and the rapid improvements in - and return movements to - NDJ) may not have users by the time it is completed.
I am satisfied that our withdrawal will NOT provoke humanitarian suffering and unmet needs, just as the impact of our staying would NOT make a distinctive and critical contribution. There is a good probability that other agencies already present and based/registered in the country will be able to compensate.
This is a tough decision - but one which reflects both the low levels of need in Cameroon, the high costs (not only cash) of establishing an operation there, the capability of others in Cameroon, and the level of priority which we give to maintaining and strengthening our E Chad operations at a difficult time.
i hope that this is clear.
Fuller analysis will follow.
Regional Director - West Africa
went out for a very good Thai meal this evening with a selection of people from the office and Chad evacuees who are here.
Valentines day ! popped an email off to Caroline.
and after work had a meeeting with the Reuters Hd of Office here. Very nice guy, my sort of age, based here for a few years. Off the record updates on Chad and v good exchange of information, and sources.