Catholic Relief Services is warning of increasing violence and displacement in the Sahel— the vast area of western and north-central Africa stretching from Senegal to Sudan.
In 2018, more than 320,000 people in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger were forced to leave their homes, CRS reports. Burkina Faso, in particular, saw a four-fold increase in displaced persons since the start of this year.
“The increase of violent attacks has been devastating to so many families,” Jennifer Overton, CRS’ regional director for West Africa, said Sept. 12.
“People are struggling not only to keep their families safe and together, but also to meet basic needs like food and shelter.”
Ethnic tensions in the region, as well as threats from extremist groups including al-Qaeda affiliates, have boiled over in recent months.