The United Nations and humanitarian agencies are helping 1.2 million internally displaced people and 107,000 refugees in the border areas of the Central Sahel suffering from conflict and COVID-19, a UN spokesman said on Monday.
Additionally, more than 3 million people are severely food insecure and the number of displaced where the borders of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger meet has increased to four times what it was one year ago, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The rise in armed violence is not only forcing people to flee their homes but as schools and health care centers have been targeted, vulnerable communities have been deprived of critical services, Dujarric said. The virus transmission risks are also heightened in densely populated areas, such as displacement sites that do not have adequate access to shelter, clean water, hygiene and basic sanitation.
“This year, 7.5 million people in the affected regions need urgent assistance,” he told reporters at a regular, virtual briefing. “We, along with our humanitarian partners, remain on the ground to deliver life-saving assistance, but urgent resources are needed.”
As of late April, only 12 percent of the 988 million U.S. dollars required for the humanitarian response had been received, the spokesman said.
The UN Central Emergency Response Fund allocated 42 million U.S. dollars to the Central Sahel countries since the beginning of the year, mainly to provide food and nutrition, water, hygiene and sanitation, shelter, protection and health care.
“In Burkina Faso, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) tells us that they have condemned violence against Malian refugees that left at least 32 people injured,” he said. The incident took place over the weekend at the Mentao refugee camp, which hosts some 6,500 refugees close to Burkina Faso’s border with Mali.
The injured are being treated in a health center and the UNHCR has called for an urgent investigation into the incident. Enditem