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COVID-19: ECOWAS earmarks $1m as palliative to Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Burkina-Faso

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Abuja, June 18, 2020, The ECOWAS Commission has said it is implementing food assistance to Nigeria, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso worth 1 million Dollars as palliative to cushion the impact of the COVID -19 pandemic in the region.

Ms Fatima Siga Jagne, ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja during the commemoration of the 2020 World Refugee Day (WRD).

Jagne was represented by by Dr Sintiki Tarfa-Ugbe, Director, Humanitarian and social Affairs in the commission.

Jagne said that the assistance is in line with its humanitarian mandate will continue to support Member States to alleviate the sufferings of our population affected by humanitarian concerns.

She said that consequently, the Commission is implementing an ECOWAS Emergency Plan from April to June, 2020 to raise awareness on preventive and protective measures as well as promotion of good hygiene practices.

Jagne said that the Emergency Plan would also raise awareness on risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) activities and community surveillance.

She explained that this aims at reducing the spread of COVID-19 in 7 IDP and refugee camps in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria.

“Escalating violence in West Africa has forced more people than ever before to flee their homes.

“This situation is exacerbated by an intense food crisis in the Sahel region. The rapid worsening of the Sahel crisis has driven humanitarian needs in the region to unprecedented levels and is progressively threatening to encroach to the coastal Member States.

“Conflict, effects of climate change, chronic vulnerabilities and endemic poverty are putting millions at risk and forcing them to flee their natural place of residence.

“The Covid-19 pandemic risks are further distressing our populations especially, the most vulnerable and have accentuated their vulnerability to shocks.

“Latest figures by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on displacement in West Africa shows that over 260, 000 refugees and about 3 million IDPs are displaced in the region.

“In 2020, it is estimated that 24 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in the Sahel region,” Jagne said.

Jagne said that determined action is urgently required to prevent further spread of the crisis and a potential spill-over into new regions and our coastal Member States.

She added that accordingly, the ECOWAS Commission in the spirit of the theme of the 2020 World Refugee Day, calls for concerted efforts to stop the spread of this crisis.

By Ifeanyi Nwoko

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