Burkina Faso + 7 more

Sahel Crisis: Humanitarian Needs and Requirements Overview (April 2021)


Sahel Deepening crisis, deteriorating needs

The humanitarian situation in the Sahel is worsening fast and significantly

Deep poverty, climate change, violence, chronically high food insecurity and malnutrition continue to drive extreme levels of vulnerability. The context is getting increasingly volatile and prone to shocks and natural hazards, putting millions at risk. In conflict-affected regions, civilians are facing an ever-increasing dramatic protection crisis. Millions of people had to flee their homes. Insecurity and violence are threatening lives and livelihoods, increasing human rights violations, and jeopardizing social cohesion. Women and girls are at heightened risk of sexual and gender-based violence. Insecurity is also constraining humanitarian access, leaving communities without essential assistance, and exposing aid workers to increased risks. Across the region, COVID 19 is further compounding acute needs.

In 2021, almost 29 million Sahelians will need assistance and protection, 5 million more than one year ago. Six countries – Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria – have developed Response Plans for 2021, requiring a total US$ 3.7 billion.


Conflict in the Sahel has worsened and spread to new areas, making it the key driver of needs. Both in the Central Sahel and in the Lake Chad basin, violence is showing no sign of abating: security incidents, attacks, and kidnappings are a daily reality for millions of civilians. They are caught between armed groups, intercommunal violence and military operations that severely impact their access to basic social services, livelihoods, and assistance, generating short- and long-term needs.

Multi-year trends show a dramatic deterioration. From 2015 to 2020, the number of violent attacks increased eight- fold in the Central Sahel and tripled in the Lake Chad basin. Insecurity is expanding to and worsening in the cross-border area between Burkina Faso and Benin, North West Nigeria and Maradi, in Niger. Affected communities in remote rural areas are already struggling with high vulnerabilities and chronic needs. Exposed to violence and insecurity, they quickly slip into deep crisis.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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