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People's Daily Online

UN sees rapidly mounting insecurity across Sahel

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:11, April 29, 2021

UNITED NATIONS, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Increased fighting, food insecurity and COVID-19 have touched off a dramatic rise in hunger and homelessness across the Sahel, affecting almost 29 million people, UN humanitarians said on Wednesday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the humanitarian situation in the region is worsening fast, forecasting almost 29 million people will need assistance and protection this year, 5 million more than at the start of 2020.

The humanitarians said that from 2015 to 2020, violent attacks increased eight-fold in the Central Sahel and tripled in the Lake Chad Basin.

"Insecurity is disproportionately affecting children and women," OCHA said. "Incidents of gender-based violence are spiking, with widespread risks of women and girls being abducted, married by force, sexually assaulted and raped."

The activities of armed groups, intercommunal violence and military operations have forced about 5.4 million people from their homes across the Sahel, it said.

In the Lake Chad Basin alone, 6.2 million people face hunger this year, almost 2 million more people than last year. In the Central Sahel regions of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, 3.4 million people face a food crisis during the 2021 lean season, marking record peaks, the humanitarians said.

The Sahel is a vast semi-arid ribbon of land stretching from Mauritania and Senegal in the west to Sudan and Eritrea in the east, separating the Sahara Desert to the north and tropical savannas to the south.

Humanitarians seek 3.7 billion U.S. dollars in aid plans for Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

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