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West and Central Africa: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (17 - 23 April 2018)

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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

AID WORKER ATTACKS THREATEN ACCESS

Armed men on 11 April attacked and seized an aid worker near Kouango town in the southern Ouaka prefecture. The aid worker was released, but his belongings were taken. A week earlier, gunmen abducted a driver with an international aid group also near Kouango. The attacks risk affecting humanitarian access in the area. Efforts are underway to sensitise on the neutrality of humanitarian workers.

CHAD

FIRST GROUP OF SUDANESE REFUGEES RETURN HOME

The first group of Sudanese refugees willing to return home left on 14 April. Fifty-three people were repatriated under the terms of a May 2017 agreement between Chad, Sudan and UNHCR on voluntary refugee return. More than 329,000 Sudanese have been living in eastern Chad for over a decade.
Many are unwilling to return due to persistent insecurity back home. Meanwhile, around 4,000 Chadians in Darfur have returned home since December 2017.

MALI

CLASHES FORCE 3,000 TO FLEE TO BURKINA FASO

Since February, intercommunity clashes have forced around 3,000 people – mainly from Koro locality in Mali’s northern Gao region – to flee to Burkina Faso. The clashes between Dogon and Peul communities have also claimed several lives. The new arrivals add to some 24,000 Malian refugees who have found refuge in Burkina Faso since the eruption of conflict in Mali in 2012. The new arrivals living in makeshift shelters are to be relocated to safer areas. The refugees urgently need basic relief items and long-term support, especially the youth. Rising intercommunal tension has also been reported around the Mali - Niger border following the 11 April abduction of a German aid worker in Niger.

NIGER

MENINGITIS AT ALERT LEVEL IN FOUR HEALTH DISTRICTS

On 16 April, health authorities announced that four health districts in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder regions had reached the meningitis alert threshold, meaning five cases per 100,000 people per week. While no health district has reached the epidemic threshold (10 cases per 100,000), several health centres in Maradi and Tahoua regions have reached the epidemic levels. Health authorities have enough medicines for over 4,000 patients. A vaccination campaign targeting people between two and 29 years old is being organised. In 2017, Niger recorded 3,506 cases of meningitis, causing 232 deaths.

NIGERIA

VIOLENCE FORCES 300,000 CHILDREN FROM SCHOOL

More than 300,000 children have been forced from schools due to persistent farmerherder clashes in Benue state, the state’s top education official said on 17 April. Several primary schools in the four worst-hit localities have either been burned or occupied by armed herders. In some localities schools are now hosting displaced people. With a daily influx of displaced people into camps, there are hardly any spaces to set up learning areas for children. Clashes and killings continue to escalate in the north-central region, particularly in Benue and Nasarawa states with more than 50 people killed recently.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.