West and Central Africa: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (22 - 28 August 2017)
15 KILLED AND 8 KIDNAPPED NEAR KOLOFATA
Suspected Boko Haram militants attacked Gakara village just outside the town of Kolofata, near the Nigerian border, on the night of 24 August, killing 15 people and kidnapping 8 others, officials said on 25 August. The attackers burned down around 30 houses. Kolofata hosts a large displaced population but the area has become a frequent target of suicide bombings, thus constraining access to humanitarian aid.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
DETERIORATING ACCESS IN BATANGAFO
Threats by armed groups surrounding the town of Batangafo, in north-western Ouham prefecture, have caused two aid organizations to reduce their activities. On 23 August, a joint government, UN and INGO mission was conducted to sensitize local leaders on the need to respect humanitarian principles. The situation has been deteriorating with armed groups prohibiting the population from going further than 2km outside the town and preventing IDPs from accessing the market.
MORE THAN 170 PEOPLE UNACCOUNTED FOR IN ITURI
More than 10 days after a landslide ravaged the village of Tara in Ituri Province, in the north-east of the country, national authorities have revised the toll to 174 people presumed dead. So far, 33 bodies have been recovered and buried. There are 57 survivors, and 10 injured still receiving care at the hospital.
Around 280 children have been orphaned. A response and recovery plan developed by the provincial authorities will be shared with humanitarian actors. Priorities include assistance to affected people and the relocation of villages in areas currently at risk.
FLOODS IN NIAMEY KILL 2
On 27 August, two people died in floods in Niamey following heavy rains that poured down on the capital city area. Since the beginning of the rainy season in May, 16 people have lost their lives in the sole region of Niamey, according to media reports. The authorities have asked people living in atrisk areas to relocate to safer neighborhoods. As of 21 August, floods have affected 64,616 people, and caused the death of 38 persons across the country. Aid organizations are providing NFIs and food supplies to those affected. The population at risk of floods is estimated at a total of 157,000 people.
INCREASE IN CHILDREN USED AS SUICIDE BOMBERS
According to UNICEF, 83 children have been forced to become suicide bombers in north-east Nigeria since January 2017 (55 girls, 27 boys and one baby). The number is four times higher than for the entire year of 2016, raising concerns about the increasing trend of forced recruitment and exploitation of children by Boko Haram. Children who escaped or were released from captivity are now facing suspicion, stigmatization or rejection across communities.
RELOCATION OF AFFECTED PEOPLE TO START THIS WEEK
Two temporary sites have been identified in Freetown, the capital city, to relocate the most vulnerable people affected by the 14 August landslide and flash floods. A total of over 6,000 persons have been directly affected, and 810 are still reported missing. The official death toll is now around 600 deaths, many of which are still unidentified. While the search for bodies will likely be ended in the coming days, corpses have been retrieved as far as Conakry, in Guinea. Initial food and non-food items distributions have been completed and a cash transfer programme is due to start on 29 August.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.