The UN Secretary-General has underlined his concern for Africa’s Sahel region, where deteriorating security and violence are aggravating an already difficult humanitarian situation that is unfolding amid the COVID-19 pandemic and climate emergency.
An international operation coordinated jointly by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the international police organization INTERPOL has disrupted trafficking networks that supply terrorist groups across West Africa and the Sahel, the UN agency reported on Monday.
Humanitarians have stepped up assistance to communities “on the brink”, who have been affected by devastating flooding in Africa’s Sahel region, where several hundred thousand people have been displaced by seasonal rains.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has issued an urgent appeal for $186 million to provide lifesaving protection and assistance in the Sahel amidst fears that the conflict in the vast African region – exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – will spread.
An upsurge in military action against armed groups in West Africa’s vast Sahel and Lake Chad regions has prompted the United Nations refugee agency to call on all warring parties to protect people caught up in the violence.
In Africa’s central Sahel region, millions of people do not have enough to eat – and between the lean season and the encroaching COVID-19 pandemic, there are real fears that the situation is spiralling out of control.
In an interview with UN News’s Daniel Johnson, Chris Nikoi, the World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director for West Africa, says that he can’t sleep at night for worrying about the potential impact COVID-19 restrictions will have on humanitarian operations.
Malnutrition, disease, floods, droughts and displacement in Niger have put nearly three million people, more than half of them children, in need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF said on Wednesday, calling for increased attention to their plight.