The Sahel: which emergency?
The Covid-19 pandemic has arrived in the Sahel amidst a humanitarian upheaval. The immediate threat of hunger, the lack of water and sanitation, epidemics and migrations coexist with the terrorist violence that is causing the vast African territory also known as the “hunger belt” to bleed out. It is a region where any emergency is added to others that the international community cannot tolerate.
But it is the tragedy of terrorism, which affects a large number of countries in the Sahel, that is the priority objective, since it adds to the terrible humanitarian cost the impossibility of maintaining any program of economic and social development, and of attending to any health emergency effectively. In the case of Burkina Faso, the northeast regions, where Dori is located, are the most conflictive. They are located in the so-called “three-frontier zone” - Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso -, where the fight against the jihadist group Islamic State, which is carried out by the army with the support of France, is not likely to be resolved in the short term.
According to UNHCR, 880,000 people have been displaced by violence in Burkina Faso alone up to April this year. Throughout the Sahel, groups such as Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM), the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) and others have pushed the number of those fleeing violence to three million.
Burkina Faso means “homeland of men of integrity”. The integrity of its inhabitants has helped them to withstand all sorts of calamities, albeit at a high humanitarian cost. It is a country that dramatically symbolizes the problems of one of the poorest and most vulnerable regions of the planet. The world needs their integrity, which will not abandon them, to reach international society. Economic and political support are needed, as well as a great deal of international social awareness to put an end to an unacceptable human tragedy.