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UNHCR airlifts emergency aid for displaced population in Burkina Faso

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A UNHCR staffer stands beside the plane that airlifted 88 tons of emergency aid from Dubai for refugees and internally displaced people in Burkina Faso. © UNHCR Burkina Faso

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, airlifted today 88 tons of emergency aid for refugees and people internally displaced in Burkina Faso, following its urgent appeal on the Sahel. The chartered Boeing 777, which took off from UNHCR Global Stockpile hosted by the International Humanitarian city in Dubai, landed in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, earlier today, on the eve of World Refugee Day.

The flight was donated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.

Violence in Burkina Faso has uprooted 921,400 people, while the country also hosts 21,000 refugees who fled violence in Mali. The conditions for people forced to flee are dire, with many sleeping rough or staying in makeshift shelters. The start of the rainy season, which this year brought exceptionally strong winds and heavy rainfalls, further exacerbates the need for shelter. Almost 70,000 internally displaced persons are currently residing in flood prone areas in Centre Nord and the Sahel regions.

UNHCR and its partners estimate that, in Burkina Faso, some 890,000 are in need of shelter assistance.

So far, the refugee agency has provided 10,000 shelters. Today’s airlift of 21,300 plastic sheets is expected to provide shelter or reinforce the homes of up to some 30,000 people forced to flee, allowing to decongest the most overcrowded sites.

This airlift, whose arrival coincides with World Refugee Day, is among the first response to UNHCR’s appeal for US$186 million for refugee and displacement crisis in Sahel. Launched last Friday in Geneva, the appeal aims to provide lifesaving protection and assistance to refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities in the central Sahel region.

“As the Sahel faces a humanitarian and protection crisis of major proportions, every action counts. This airlift will ensure thousands of vulnerable and displaced families in Burkina Faso now have a shelter,” says Ioli Kimyaci, UNHCR Representative in Burkina Faso. “We are most grateful to HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the International Humanitarian City for such a timely donation to airlift these supplies. Timely because it is urgently needed; timely because we celebrate World Refugee Day at a time of unprecedented forced movement worldwide. Timely because it sets an example we hope others to follow,” she adds.

Note to editors: UNHCR’s global stockpile in Dubai, established since 2006 and hosted by the International Humanitarian City, is our largest stockpile in the world. This facility stocks family tents, shelter materials as well as core relief items such as blankets, kitchen sets for more than 250,000 people.

Media contacts:

In Dakar, Romain Desclous, desclous@unhcr.org, +221 786 396 385

In Ouagadougou, Moussa Bougma, bougma@unhcr.org, +226 253 40 522

In Dubai, Ola Anan, anan@unhcr.org, +971 50 621 3660