The UN refugee agency says thousands of survivors of the recent genocide in Burkina Faso are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
On 12 June a deadly attack by armed men in the city of Setenga sent some 16,000 people, mostly women and children, fleeing for their lives.
The UN refugee agency reports that they have arrived at Dori, a town in eastern Burkina Faso on the border between Niger and Mali. It said that more survivors of the attack are expected in the coming days.
UNHCR spokesman Matthew Saltmarsh says at least 79 people were killed in the brutal attack by unidentified assailants. He noted that it was the deadliest single incident since a massacre in a nearby town a year earlier had killed more than 130 people. They say it marks a further increase in violence against civilians in Burkina Faso.
“The new arrivals in Dory account of armed men going from door to door searching for and killing adult men, meaning that many witnessed the death of their husbands or fathers,” Saltmarsh said. “About two-thirds of those who fled are Setenga’s under the age of 18. Many have been given shelter by the host community and displaced families already living in Dori.
However, he noted that hundreds of others are sleeping rough-and-tumble on the side of the road. It is difficult to find shelter to accommodate the new arrivals as Dori is full of people rendered homeless by escalating violence against civilians.
Saltmarsh says Dori is currently home to some 76,000 displaced Burkinabe as well as 20,000 refugees from Mali. He says regional authorities and humanitarian organizations have begun relocating people without shelter to three existing sites in Dori and are preparing additional plots for future arrivals.
“UNHCR and partners are preparing to increase the supply of emergency shelters and key relief items, including sleeping mats, soap, cooking utensils, to more than 1,000 families,” Saltmarsh said. “UNHCR is also working to identify new arrivals with protection needs, such as children and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and to provide them with access to appropriate care.”
The UN refugee agency is appealing for international support to meet the urgent and growing needs of this bereaved population. It says only 20 percent of the $110 million appeals issued for Burkina Faso have been met. This, it says, does little to run its life-saving humanitarian mission.
Burkina Faso’s displacement crisis is one of the fastest growing in the world. The latest government figures put the number of internally displaced persons at 1.9 million.
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