The United Nations said, on Friday, that two million people have been displaced in the Sahel region, which is witnessing terrorist violence.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees stated, in a statement, that this number of displaced people is a record number that has not been witnessed in the region before.
The office called for an end to the “ongoing violence” in the Sahel region, which “led to the displacement of more than two million people within the borders of their country for the first time.”
The agency stated that internal displacement in the region, which includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger “increased four times in just two years,” as there were 490,000 internally displaced persons at the beginning of 2019.
More than half of the displaced in the region are from Burkina Faso.
Since the beginning of the year, about three weeks, violence in Niger and Burkina Faso has prompted more than 21,000 people to leave their homes and seek refuge in their countries, according to UNHCR.
In Burkina Faso, since December 31, a series of armed attacks in the “Cumbre” region and neighboring villages in the north of the country have displaced more than 11,000 people.
The majority of those displaced are women and children who fled during the night, after the attackers began shooting at their homes. The displaced have moved to safety. They are currently being housed among the local population in Ouahigua and Parga, 35 km from Cumbre.
The majority of the displaced have no place to accommodate them and sleep in the open, and they urgently need shelter, relief and health care facilities and adequate health facilities, according to the statement.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees built 108 shelters in Ouahigua and distributed mattresses, blankets, personal hygiene supplies and other priority items. Local authorities are speeding up their efforts to register the new arrivals and relocate them to another location.
The Sahel region hosts more than 850,000 refugees, most of them from Mali.
The Sahel region is experiencing a cycle of violence as a result of terrorist attacks, which have killed thousands since 2012.
The needs of the population are increasing, according to the United Nations, in this region where several crises intersect, including food insecurity, climate change and the Covid-19 epidemic.
The Sahel region includes one of the least developed countries in the world, and the groups receiving displaced people have “reached a breaking point,” according to the UNHCR.
The Commission urged the international community to double its support for the Sahel region.
The Commission asked countries to “act now to help Sahel countries combat the deep causes of forced displacement, stimulate strategic and sustainable growth and strengthen institutions such as schools and hospitals, many of which have been closed due to the ongoing violence.”