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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Burkina Faso - Sri Lanka - Syria

07 Jun 2021

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A group of displaced women collects water in the town of Djibo in Burkina Faso, February 2021. © OCHA/Naomi Frette

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 7 June 2021

Burkina Faso

More than 100 civilians were killed, and at least 50 wounded, on the night of 4-5 June in the village of Solhan (Sebba Commune, Yagha Province) in Burkina Faso, when a non-State armed group attacked the village over about four hours.

The regional health authority rushed to provide care for people who were wounded, with critical cases evacuated by road (10 cases) and helicopter (8 cases) with support from the national Ministry of Health. Partners with medical capacity operational in the area are also mobilizing to support, including the ICRC and MSF Spain.

The Regional Directorate for Social Action has reported that at least 3,300 people – all women and children – have been displaced from the Solhan area to the communal seat of Sebba and the village of Sampelga. New internally displaced arrivals have also been reported in Dori, the regional capital of the Sahel Region in Burkina Faso, and are being assessed and registered.

OCHA is convening an emergency meeting on rapid response to the situation today in Dori, following the crisis management meeting called by the Sahel Regional Governor.

Over the past two years, conflict and insecurity in Burkina Faso have provoked what is now one of the fastest-growing displacement crisis in the world, forcing more than 1 million people to flee their homes.

The 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan for Burkina Faso, requesting US$608 million, is targeting 2.9 million people and is currently funded at only 16 per cent.

OCHA is organizing a Member State briefing on the humanitarian situation in the Sahel on Friday, 11 June. The briefing will be moderated by Mr. Ramesh Rajasingham, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator a.i.

Sri Lanka

The latest information received from Sri Lanka indicates that more than 271,000 people have been affected and more than 26,000 displaced due to flash floods and landslides in the south-western parts of the country. 

Disaster management authorities report 17 fatalities, 2 missing persons and some 1,000 buildings and houses as being damaged or destroyed.

The Government has deployed search-and-rescue teams in affected areas.

While no formal request for international assistance has been made, the World Food Programme (WFP) in Sri Lanka has provided personal protective equipment and health safety equipment for national first responders.

The effects of the South-west monsoon come at a time when Sri Lankan authorities, with support from UN agencies, are working to mitigate the environmental impact of a sinking cargo ship that occurred on 20 May on the west coast of Sri Lanka, near the port of Colombo.

Syria

The UN remains very concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation for 13.4 million people in need throughout the country, who have suffered from a decade of conflict, economic crisis and now also COVID-19.

Some of the most vulnerable Syrians are those who are in the north-west of the country, where there are now 3.4 million people in need. More than 90 per cent of those people are assessed by the UN to be in extreme or catastrophic need – particularly the 2.7 million internally displaced. Most of the displaced are pressed against the border with Turkey in over 1,000 camps and informal settlements.

The only access for the UN to these millions of people is through the UN Security Council-authorized cross-border operation. The Bab al-Hawa crossing is the UN’s last remaining entry point for transporting assistance to north-west Syria.

The assistance that is being sent by the UN from Turkey cross-border into the north-west of Syria is reaching 2.4 million Syrians on a monthly basis – with around 1,000 trucks of aid crossing the border each month. A total of 979 trucks crossed into Syria from Turkey in May.

The cross-border response allows for critical response to needs across all sectors – for example, support in food, livelihoods, nutrition and health.

The first batch of just over 53,000 COVAX COVID-19 vaccines for north-west Syria were transported through the cross-border operation in April and the vaccination programme has been ongoing since 1 May. This is in addition to other vaccines and health items that regularly cross to support hospitals and primary health centres in the area.

Bab al-Hawa is a last lifeline preventing a humanitarian catastrophe for millions of people in Syria. Despite ongoing efforts to deliver a small number of trucks cross-line from Damascus, there remains no alternative to delivering aid at this scale and with this scope.

This is why the Secretary-General has said that, “A large-scale cross-border response for an additional 12 months remains essential to save lives.”