The UNHCR and its partners are facing severe challenges in accessing the internally displaced people and refugee populations in Burkina Faso as insecurity grips north-eastern parts of the country. Almost 500,000 currently displaced, said UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch.
A recent upsurge of violent attacks by militants on military personnel and civilians is forcing thousands more to flee their homes in search of safety. About 300,000 people have been displaced in just the last four months in the country. The number of those displaced could reach 650,000 by the end of the year.
People fleeing the violence report attacks on their villages by extremists who often forcibly recruit male residents at gunpoint, killing those who resist. Militants also stole cattle and other possessions.
Fleeing from these attacks, residents have left everything behind, many seeking safety in Dori, a town of about 20,000 inhabitants close to the border of Mali and Niger.
It is estimated that only 10 per cent of the shelter needs of the displaced people in Burkina Faso is covered at the moment. UNHCR is scaling up its relief efforts with urgently acquiring more shelter to complement the 3,335 already distributed and 1,880 currently being constructed in both Sahel and Centre Nord regions.
For communities and those forced to flee, access to documentation is essential to ensure freedom of movement. UNHCR has facilitated and financed the issuing of identity cards to internally displaced people, as well as birth certificates and other documentation that are essential to prove their identity, move freely or seek assistance.
Currently, all of Burkina Faso’s 13 regions host people fleeing violence. The Centre-Nord region hosts the largest number of displaced people – more than 196,000 in Sanmatenga province alone – followed by the Sahel region, with almost 133,000 in Soum province. (Source: UNHCR)