The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that border area of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger had become the epicenter of a fast-growing crisis with unprecedented levels of armed violence, a UN spokesperson said Wednesday.

“According to OCHA, armed assailants are directly targeting schools and forcing health centres to close, depriving communities of critical services,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

He added that more than 3,600 schools and 241 health centers are no longer operating in those African countries.

Dujarric said to support national and local authorities, the UN and its partners are scaling up operations to save lives and alleviate human suffering and are appealing for 1 billion U.S. dollars to support the most vulnerable.

This month, 17 million dollars have been allocated from the UN’s Central Emergency Fund for Burkina Faso and Mali to provide provisions of shelter, water and sanitation, protection, health and food security, he said. Enditem

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