Deaths more than double in Sahel crises


Instability in the Aahel region of Africa. Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

from ISSOUF TRAORE in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
OUAGADOUGOU, (CAJ News) MORE than 4 660 people have died in the first six months of 2020 because of increasing violence in the Sahel region.

The toll is for Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger where deaths have increased by 62 percent over the past year.

More than 1 million people have been forced to flee their homes over the last year.

The International Committee of the Red Cross bemoaned the fact that the rise in conflicts was jeopardising access to basic services, including health care, and affecting a fragile economy even as the coronavirus (COVID-19) posed new threats.

Climate change effects add a complicating layer to an already dramatic humanitarian situation.

Record hot spells and unpredictable weather patterns such as the current floods tend to worsen inter-communal tensions and violence.

“The combination of rising violence and deaths, shuttered health care facilities, climate change effects and the COVID-19 pandemic make this a complex and multilayered crisis,” Peter Maurer, the Red Cross President, said.

He visited Burkina Faso and Niger over the last week.

“People here are facing a battering ram of challenges leading to intense suffering for families,” he said.

The Red Cross recently allocated an additional 12 million Swiss francs (about $13,2 million or R220 million) to its operational budget for the Sahel region.

“Government budgets are strained globally due to the health and job repercussions of COVID-19 but it’s clear that this region of the world needs assistance to alleviate the crippling consequences of both armed conflict and climate risks,” Maurer said.

– CAJ News

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