EHS-COVID (51) Central Sahel Appeal

16 November, 2020

From the WHO website.


Along with the ongoing COVIDI-19 pandemic, the situation in the Central Sahel has deteriorated significantly over the last years. Complex and fast-growing crises cause unprecedented needs, while armed violence and insecurity have forced more people to flee their homes, and disrupted basic social services and governance. Across the region, the number of internally displaced people has risen from 70,000 to 1.4 million in less than two years; including 1 million in Burkina Faso, 267,000 in Mali and 140,000 in western Niger.

Human rights violations, including gender-based violence and violence against children, are on a sharp rise. A dramatic food and nutrition crisis hits conflict-affected regions the hardest and, according to the April 2020 Cadre Harmonise analysis, the number of people facing a critical lack of food has more than tripled in Burkina Faso, almost doubled in Mali, and increased by 77 per cent in Niger – without taking into account the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on populations in the region. Access to people in need has become increasingly difficult, and militarised and politicised response constitutes a major risk to humanitarian action. Humanitarian actors are increasingly exposed to risks and targeted in attacks.

The crisis hits vulnerable communities in a convergence of poverty, social exclusion, food insecurity, population growth, lack of education, weak governance, and conflict – and now COVID-19. The pandemic risks overwhelming the basic services, exacerbating ongoing crises and food and nutrition insecurity, and deeply impacting the socio-economic situation of vulnerable households and their capacity to adapt and recover. Some 13.4 million people in the three countries require urgent assistance – 5 million more than estimated at the beginning of the year. This includes 2.9 million in Burkina Faso, 6.8 million in Mali, and 3.7 million in Niger.

Humanitarian response plans remain severely underfunded.


Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,