Emergency relief in Burkina Faso/Sahel Zone
Cologne. First aid and ambulance services are the focus of a new emergency relief project supported by Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s worldwide humanitarian aid service, in northern Burkina Faso. The project will be implemented by Ordre de Malte France, the relief service of the French Association of the Order of Malta.
The fighting between Tuareg rebels and Mali’s military forces following the coup of 22 March has forced more than 160,000 Malians to flee to neighbouring countries such as Mauretania, Niger, Algeria and Burkina Faso. The food crisis in the Sahel region due to recent droughts, poor harvests and rising grain prices aggravates this already critical situation.
In Burkina Faso alone, more than 65,000 refugees have sought shelter in remote areas close to the Malian border in the Sahel region. “In this region, Malian refugees live in an insecure environment and under extremely poor humanitarian conditions”, says Nina Wöhrmann, senior desk officer for Africa at Malteser International. “The relative remoteness of the area makes it difficult to ensure that refugees can get to the health services they need”.
Ordre de Malte France has 10 years of experience in the emergency health transportation sector in the southern part of Burkina Faso. The joint project aims to ensure the transport of Malian refugees in Oudalan, in the Sahel region, from the camps to adequate health facilities. “They are suffering from a number of health problems, mainly due to poor living conditions, such as respiratory infections, diarrhoea and malnutrition”, Wöhrmann says. “In case of complications, having a fully equipped ambulance with well trained first aid officers can save lives”. For that purpose, two additional ambulances have been stationed in the health care centres of Gorom-Gorom and Dori, in north-eastern Burkina Faso.
In addition, the project will benefit the local population, who are also suffering from the generalised food insecurity and drought in the region. Both refugees and locals will have access to the transportation services. First aid responders will be on call 24 hours a day.
The project is being funded by Germany’s Relief Coalition (ADH).