OUAGADOUGOU – The resources of aid agencies are at bursting point as the number of Malians refugees arriving in neighbouring Burkina Faso has now crossed the 100,000 mark.
In the last 10 days, hundreds have been pouring over the border daily, fleeing the internal armed conflict, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. More than half of refugees in Burkina are children and more than one in ten are under five years old.
Country Director for Plan Burkina, Mark Wentling, says that the UNHCR had been planning for the arrival of 100,000 this year and that number has now been exceeded. As of 25 July 107, 929 Malian refugees have been registered in the provinces of Soum, Oudalan, Kadiogo, and Houet which are suffering from a shortage of food and forage. In addition, an estimated 150,000 livestock have been brought over by the Malians adding further strain to limited resources.
“Refugees have fled into Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania but Burkina has the largest number which is now more than double the amount in Niger and this number continues to grow,” says Wentling, adding that “Burkina is already facing a food crisis which is the result of drought, poor harvests, reduced incomes and high food prices. This is already an emergency.”
The arrival of refugees is the new challenge which aid agencies are now facing.
“What I am very worried about is there may be just another month’s worth of emergency food for the refugees.”
Children face enormous challenges in refugee situations and need special care and attention.
Plan is working closely with UNICEF in the areas of education and child protection and with the World Food Program to provide school lunches in the camps where it leads education activities. More than 8,000 refugee children will benefit from Plan’s education and child protection activities, and nearly 17,000 refugees will benefit from water and sanitation activities, and the distribution of non-food items.
Plan Burkina has opened refugee assistance offices in Djibo and in Dori from where UNHCR coordinates much of the refugee assistance work.
UNHCR has requested Plan, a global children rights organisation with 36 years experience in West Africa, to work in the refugee camps in Damba, Mentao, Gandafabou, and the new camp of Goudebo.
Donations to support the children’s emergency work can be made via the Plan International website www.plan-international.org.
Further details please contact:
Communication Manager, Burkina Faso
Tel: +226 50 37 87 33
Florence Cisse, Regional Media Specialist, Senegal,
Mobile: +221 777 403 600,
Terry Ally, Press Officer, Emergencies and Disasters, Plan International HQ, UK,
Tel: +44 (0) 1483 733 337
Notes to editor:
- On July 16, the number of Malian refugees in Burkina Faso stood at 89,258. By July 25, the number had increased to 107,929 and continues to increase;
- The UN 2012 Consolidated Appeal for Burkina Faso to address the refugee crisis is 58% under-funded;
- Plan’s minimum refugee budget for 2012 is $3.9 million and to date only $2m has been raised;
- The crisis facing Burkina Faso and elsewhere in the Sahel is a complex emergency. An analysis of the Sahel Food Crisis by Plan’s West Africa Emergency Manager, Roland Berehoudoug, is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/100920322/An-Analysis-of-the-Sahel-Food-Crisis
Founded 75 years ago, Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world. We work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations. www.plan-international.org