Urgent aid needed for 14,000 people who have fled after the massacre in Burkina Faso


According to a warning from the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR, almost 16,000 mainly women and childrenhave been moved to Dori after gunmen killed at least 79 people in the town of Seytenga, close to the border with Niger.

Door-to-door killers

“The newcomers to Dori told of gunmen going door to door looking for and killing grown men, meaning that many witnessed the death of their husbands or fathersUNHCR spokesman Matthew Saltmarsh said. “Nearly two-thirds of those fleeing Seytenga are under the age of 18.”

Today, hundreds of people who have fled the attackers have no choice but to sleep roughly along the road until shelter is found, the UNHCR official told journalists in Geneva.

Many others have been hosted by host families and displaced families already living in Dori, while others have found space in refugee reception and transit centers.

More Burkinabe in Dori are expected to arrive in the coming dayswhile some 15,500 have sought shelter across the border in the Tillabéri region of Niger, where resources are already scarce.

Continuous Mass Movement

The displacement crisis in Burkina Faso is one of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian emergencies.

The number of internally displaced persons reached 1.9 million at the end of AprilUNHCR said, citing government figures.

Urgent needs addressed

Together with the Burkinabe authorities, UNHCR and partners have offered assistance to address the most urgent needs. These include the provision of shelter and essential items, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH) and psychosocial support.

But non-state armed groups have attacked the country’s water supplies and infrastructure, including a recent attack on the main water supply to Dori, and WASH needs could grow rapidly, UNHCR warned.

To help those families who are sleeping rough, UN humanitarian aid agencies have helped regional authorities move them to three existing displacement sites in Dori. Additional plots have been identified to also accommodate potential future arrivals.

UNHCR and partners prepare to bolster supplies of emergency shelters and essential relief suppliesincluding sleeping pads, soap and cooking utensils, for over 1,000 families,” explains Mr Saltmarsh.

Shrinking space

He noted that the city of Dori has grown threefold and now home to nearly 76,000 displaced people from Burkinabe, as well as about 20,000 refugees from Mali.

While efforts have been made to provide state education and health care to the newcomers, the UN agency warned that competition for resources — water and land for grassland and agriculture, plus rising inflation and fuel shortages — “all test peaceful coexistence between different communities

Other countries in the Sahel – Chad, Mali and Niger – are also dealing with a combination of violence, poverty and the effects of climate change. In the Sahel region, more than 2.5 million people have fled their homes in the past ten years.

To date, the $591 million humanitarian appeal for Burkina Faso has only been 15 percent funded.

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