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Report: West Africa records 5-fold increase in displacement of children over violence

Report: West Africa records 5-fold increase in displacement of children over violence
March 21
19:49 2024

Three West African countries have recorded a five-fold surge in the number of children forced out of their homes due to escalating violence, according to a new Save the Children International (SCI) analysis.

In a report released on Thursday, the charity organisation said it analysed figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), national governments, and the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).

SCI listed the three countries as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger Republic.

“The analysis revealed that the number of children forced to flee their homes has surged from around 321,000 in 2019 to around 1.8 million today. Since the start of 2023, some 53,000 children have been forced to leave their homes in these countries,” the statement reads.


“Most of the children displaced – around nine in ten — have remained within their national borders, placing additional strains on cities and communities already stretched resources.

“In addition, Côte d’Ivoire, which emerged from its own civil conflict in 2011, has also been affected by the spillover of conflict in the central Sahel. Conflict in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali has led to a twelve-fold increase in children seeking refuge in the country, numbering around 2,450 at the end of 2022 and around 29,700 currently.”

Vishna Shah, regional director of advocacy and campaigns for SCI, said the largely forgotten crisis in the central Sahel remains one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world.


Shah said the situation is compounded by the fact that it is a children’s crisis hitting one of the youngest populations in the world.

“Millions of children are living in displacement fleeing from unimaginable deadly violence. These children were already living in one of the most challenging places to grow up in the world before losing their homes, their communities and everything that they knew,” SCI quoted Shah as saying.

The charity organisation called on governments to protect civilians during conflict, with a special focus on children.

According to the UN, children make up 40 per cent of the world’s displaced people.


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