COVID-19 CASES DOUBLE AS SECOND WAVE LINKED TO PRE-ELECTION ACTIVITIES HITS
517 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Burkina Faso from 3-8 December. In comparison, there were 245 new cases confirmed in the preceding week. Of the new cases, 4 were “imported” cases among new arrivals, while 513 were the result of community transmission. According to WHO and the Health Cluster, there has been a marked increase in cases of community transmission, which has been linked with the preelectoral and electoral period (Burkina Faso held its national presidential and parliamentary elections on 22 November). On 7 December, the Ministry of Health issued an order establishing a new committee, with 6 sub-committees (Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; Communication; Vaccine Regulation, Surveillance and Safety; Logistics and Transport; Financing and Resource Mobilization; and Security), responsible for organizing the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign. WHO and UNICEF are identified as first and second Vice-President of the new committee.
AT LEAST 300 SCHOOLBOYS MISSING AFTER SCHOOL ATTACK
At least 300 schoolboys are reported missing after armed men invaded the Government Science Secondary School (GSSS) in Kankara LGA. The perpetrators, who came in several trucks, abducted hundreds of pupils while others fled to nearby bushes. As of the evening of 13 December, The Governor of Katsina State Aminu Masari confirmed that at least 333 pupils were still missing amid ongoing rescue efforts. The attack has been claimed by Boko Haram, security personnel have been deployed to the Zango/Paula forest where the schoolboys are still being held in captivity. Governor Masari has ordered the immediate closure of all schools in the state as agitated parents, community and civil society groups staged demonstrations to demand immediate rescue of all missing pupils. Katsina and other north-western states of Sokoto and Zamfara have witnessed a spike in armed banditry in recent months despite conciliatory efforts including offer of amnesty to prisoners by governors from the region. The UN, civil society and local and international rights groups have called for the immediate release of the abducted pupils.
DEADLY ATTACK IN THE VILLAGE OF TOUMOUR
On December 12th, 28 people were killed after an attack by an armed group in the village of Toumour, South-East Niger. The assailants destroyed nearly two-thirds of the town’s homes, burned the Toumour market to the ground, and killed more than a thousand cattle. Following the attack, most of the population fled to the bush, with some people returning only at daytime. UNHCR raised concern for the safety of over 30,000 refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) who have been sheltering in Toumour. As of Monday 14 December, it was reported that people were on the move from Toumour toward Diffa, 100 kilometres away and host to 46,000 refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, and returnees. Local authorities and humanitarian partners are organizing emergency shelter, food, water, and health support to the affected
OVER 50 CASES OF PLAGUE IN 10 DAYS
57 new plague cases were reported in ten days by the health authorities of Ituri in Biringi health zone,
Aru territory. Biringi health zone is home to 40,000 refugees and thousands of other displaced people and had not reported a case of plague for 16 years. Since the beginning of the year, the province has recorded 289 cases, including 27 deaths. The Government has not yet declared an epidemic. The spread of the disease is causing increasing concern amongst humanitarian actors and health authorities, who have requested $3.2 million to respond to the disease.
11,500 PEOPLE AFFECTED BY FLOODS
More than 11,500 people in Maniema have lost their homes, food stocks and other valuables because of torrential rains that occurred on 7 and 8 December in Kindu town and in Punia territory. According to the NGO Caritas, nearly 70 per cent of the affected people currently live with host families. A humanitarian needs assessment, facilitated by OCHA, is under way in the affected areas.