West and Central Africa: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (23 September – 7 October 2019)
CASES ON THE RISE AS EPIDEMICS WORSEN
The ongoing measles outbreak appears to be worsening. Some 208 cases and one death were reported in the week ending on 29 September. At the end of September 2018, 5,336 cases, including 96 deaths, were recorded compared to 24,740 cases and 242 deaths in the same period this year. Separately, 53 cholera cases and two deaths have been reported since the ongoing outbreak, while yellow fever has been reported in 15 health districts (15 cases and one death).
CHOLERA AND MEASLES INFECTIONS RISING
Cholera and measles infections are on the rise across the country, according to WHO. Since the start of 2019, 183,837 suspected measles cases and 3,667 deaths; and 18,201 suspected cholera cases and 325 deaths have been reported. The Government, with WHO support, is strengthening measles and cholera surveillance and response. A measles vaccination campaign is underway.
VIOLENCE FORCES OVER 40,000 INTO NIGER
An upsurge in violence in north-west Nigeria has driven over 40,000 people into neighbouring Niger in the last 10 months, UNHCR reported on 27 September. The violence in Nigeria’s Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina states has sparked a new humanitarian emergency in Niger’s border regions. Nigerian refugees continue to arrive in more than 50 villages in Niger’s Guidan Roumji, Guidan Sori and Tibiri departments. UNHCR said it has opened a new field office and deployed emergency staff and resources to respond to the humanitarian needs.
AID GROUP FORCED TO HALT OPERATIONS
One of the six aid workers abducted by armed groups on 18 July has been executed, Action Against Hunger (ACF) reported on 25 September. The aid agency condemned the killing and called for the release of the hostages. UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria also denounced the reported execution, reminding all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian laws and protect aid workers. The six aid workers were ambushed while in a convoy, which included an ACF staff member, and health ministry workers in Damasak area in north-east Nigeria. Another aid worker abducted in an attack in March in Rann locality, also in north-east Nigeria, remains captive.
WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA
OVER 2 MILLION CHILDREN MISSING SCHOOL
More than 2 million children are unable to return to school in the current academic year due to security risks across West and Central African region, Save the Children said in a 3 October report. Some 9,288 schools are closed and 44,000 teachers cannot return to work. Across the region, and particularly in central Sahel, education is increasingly being targeted: schools are being attacked by armed groups, burnt or even occupied for military purposes or by internally displaced persons. Children and teachers are being attacked on the way to school and at school, the aid group said.