Sahel, epicenter of a fast-growing humanitarian crisis

The Sahel is the epicentre of a fast-growing crisis with unprecedented levels of armed violence and insecurity. “We urge the international community to take action”.

In 2022, over 30 million Sahelians need assistance and protection, almost two million more than in 2021. A fast-growing crisis with unprecedented levels of armed violence and insecurity. Six countries – Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger and Nigeria – have developed Response Plans for 2022, requiring a total US$ 3.8 billion

Violence and climate shocks are the main drivers of a humanitarian crisis, with severe drought conditions recorded in several countries in the region. In addition, the Russia – Ukraine conflict will continue raising market prices, including fuel and cereals prices, and consequently reducing access to food and exacerbating food security in the region.

INTERSOS is joining forces with OCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) and other international humanitarian organizations in urging the international community, governments and international institutions to take adequate actions, prevent the erosion of livelihoods and save lives” – Andrea Dominici, INTERSOS Regional Director underlines – “Humanitarian assistance in hard-to-reach areas must be guaranteed to help the most vulnerable groups.”

INTERSOS is currently operating in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, with different lifesaving programmes, mainly focusing on protection of the most vulnerable (with particular attention to GBV survivors), access to health-care and nutrition services, food security, access to clean water and sanitation.

Insecurity and violence continue to affect household incomes, and disrupt access to protection, education, health, water, sanitation, and hygiene services. As the crisis deepens, an entire generation is affected. Across the Sahel, over 7,800 schools are closed or non-operational due to violence, jeopardizing children’s future, especially girls who are most likely to be removed from school, married off, or engaged in negative coping mechanisms and are the least likely to return to it after prolonged interruptions.

Despite the challenging operating environment in the Sahel and access obstacles, humanitarian workers provide aid to communities affected by crises in the Sahel solely on the basis of need, without discrimination.

As OCHA underlines, “militarization and politicization pose a significant threat to a principled humanitarian response. Enhanced civil military coordination remains imperative to establish structured relations between civil and military authorities and humanitarian actors. All governments, state and non-state armed groups, and other stakeholders must uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

Flavia Melillo
Flavia Melillo

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