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Burkina Faso: 275,000 “flee new surge in violence”

A slow and insufficient humanitarian response is forcing people to choose between violence or hunger, the Norwegian Refugee Council has…

A slow and insufficient humanitarian response is forcing people to choose between violence or hunger, the Norwegian Refugee Council has warned.In a statement on Monday, the NRC said increased violence in the West African country has forced an average of 13,000 people a week to flee their homes since April. 

“Nearly 500 civilians were killed, with attacks by armed groups in Solhan and Arbinda towns marking the two deadliest in Burkina Faso’s recent history” the statement added.

“Despite  soaring conflict, the humanitarian operation to assist people in need is falling far behind. A critical shortage in aid funding, combined with  a lack of capacity from local authorities, is preventing relief  agencies like ours from responding in time,” the statement quoted Manenji Mangundu,  Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Burkina Faso as saying.

According to the NRC, Burkinabe authorities tasked with registering people are struggling to handle ever-increasing numbers. 

“Since June, humanitarian organisations  have explicitly requested for registration and information sharing to be done within one week. It currently takes several weeks before newly  displaced families can receive assistance such as food and shelter” the Council said.

Mangundu issued a sombre appeal to the government to let relief organisations assist those in need in the most inaccessible areas where aid is urgently needed.

He warned that failure to address urgent humanitarian needs forces vulnerable families to make an impossible choice between feeding their children and ensuring their own safety. 

“Many people tell NRC that they want to return home to access their food stocks and feed their families, but fear attacks” he said.

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