RECORD ONE MILLION IDPs AMID GROWING VIOLENCE, FOOD INSECURITY & COVID-19
Armed violence has forced more than one million people to flee their homes since the crisis began, many of whom are children. Over 450,000 people have been newly displaced in 2020 and 184 attacks against civilians recorded, according to the Burkinabé Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR). Hunger levels are also on the rise due to violence, low rainfall and COVID-19 restrictions. Some 3.3 million people are estimated to be facing acute food insecurity during the current lean season. Experts say the crisis has been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 on people’s ability to earn money to cover their daily needs in a country already reeling from conflict and climate change.
HUMANITARIAN NEEDS HIT RECORD HIGH AMID POLITICAL TURMOIL
Talks aimed at resolving the political situation following the coup d’état on 18 August this week have ended without agreement. The UN Secretary-General has expressed his full support to the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in finding a solution to the crisis.
Meanwhile, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has risen from 4.3 million in January to 6.8 million in August – one third of the population of Mali. This is the highest figure of people in need registered since 2012. Persistent conflict combined with the consequences of COVID-19 in a context marked by the lean season and seasonal droughts and floods have led to this rapid deterioration. As of 17 August, floods have affected 26,659 people including 5,400 IDPs and killed 8 people according to authorities.
About 58 per cent of affected people are in the conflict affected regions of Mopti and Menaka.
The response is being conducted by the Government with support from humanitarian actors. According to the contingency plan, 121,300 people are at risk of flooding this year.
WHO AND UNICEF URGE SAFE REOPENING OF SCHOOLS
A WHO survey of 39 countries in sub-Saharan Africa found that schools are fully open in six countries; while they remain closed in 14 countries and partially open (exam classes) in 19 others. Around a dozen countries are planning to resume classroom learning in September. However, the impact of extended education disruption is significant, affecting children’s nutrition, stress levels, and increasing their exposure to violence, exploitation, childhood pregnancies, and overall challenges in mental development. For girls, especially those who are displaced or living in lowincome households, the risks are even higher. The long-term social and economic impact of extended school shutdown is also concerning. According to the World Bank, school closures in sub-Saharan Africa could result in lifetime earning losses of US$ 4,500 per child. WHO and UNICEF urge governments and partners in Africa to promote the safe reopening of schools while taking measures to limit the spread of the virus.
AFRICA DECLARED FREE OF POLIO
Africa has been declared free from wild polio by the Africa Regional Certification Commission, with no new cases reported in the last four years. The certification comes after a long process of surveillance, immunization and field verification visits to all member states in the region. Vaccine derived poliovirus cases continue to be reported in West and Central Africa, with a high risk of transmission in crowded living areas and among under-immunized populations. Maintaining vaccination rates to avert a resurgence remains a priority.
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs