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  • Writer's pictureBy Reporter

IOM calls for stabilization of Burkina Faso’s humanitarian crises as violence escalates

……says interventions should be beyond COVID-19 response

IOM's Chief of Mission in Burkina Faso, Abibatou Wane, visits the IDP site in Dori. Photo: IOM/Judicaël Lompo

By Reporter

July 21, 2020- The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has called for increased efforts towards stabilizing the conflict affected regions of Burkina Faso which was already going through a difficult humanitarian situation.

The IOM in statement on Tuesday also urged partners and other humanitarian actors to support IOM beyond the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response plan to addressing the needs of displaced persons.

The UN Migration agency says it is concerned about the situation facing over 920,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Burkina Faso, where displacement figures continue to grow as violence escalates.

It stated that the violence has continued to escalate particularly in the Sahel Region where nearly one third of IDPs currently live.

Abibatou Wane, IOM Chief of Mission in Burkina Faso said in the wake of the COVD-19 pandemic, the needs of displaced persons are enormous in a country that is already going through a difficult humanitarian situation.

Wane said “that’s why we ask our partners to continue not only supporting IOM’s response plan against COVID-19, but also to work to stabilize the regions that are plagued by the humanitarian crisis.

“In a bid to protect and assist the most vulnerable, IOM launched a humanitarian response strategy targeting displaced and host communities in the five most affected regions of the country (Boucle du Mouhoun, Sahel, Centre-North, North and East).

“Through this strategy, the Organization provides displaced persons with emergency shelter assistance and essential household items and sets up and coordinates temporary reception sites and spaces.

“Over 3,000 IDPs were provided with IOM shelter assistance between December 2019 and March 2020.

“More than 5,000 IDPs and members of host communities received IOM’s psychosocial assistance at the sites of Djibo in the crisis-hit Sahel Region and Barsalogho in the North-Central Region,” Wane said.

Mr Abdoul Aziz, an IOM psychologist in Djibo municipality said the psychosocial support provided by IOM helps relieve the suffering and mental distress and gives voice to those who need to freely express their stories.

Aziz says the needs however continue as more people are being displaced by violence every day.

Abdoulaye, the representative of the internally displaced persons of Windou, a district of the city of Dori, the capital of the Sahel Region says every day new groups of displaced persons arrive.

Abdoulaye is one of the many people who have found refuge in Windou, one of the areas most affected by armed attacks in Burkina Faso.

“Hundreds of people arrived yesterday, including widows, children and people with disabilities, the needs are growing,” Abdoulaye, said.

The Burkina Faso Ministry of Women, National Solidarity, Family and Humanitarian Action of the Sahel says the Sahel Region hosts 310,066 IDPs living in 16 of the 26 municipalities in the region.

The Ministry notes that about 25 per cent of these IDPs are hosted by families and their priority needs are shelter, food, and health services.

According to IOM, as part of the response against COVID-19, it has supported the region with protection kits and has been carrying out awareness-raising activities for both communities and IDPs.

It stated that with the support of health workers, the Organization has raised awareness among more than 3,282 IDPs and members of host communities in the Sahel Region on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The IOM says these activities are implemented with the financial support of the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

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