The country most affected for the moment by this humanitarian crisis is Burkina Faso, said Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, visiting Chad on Thursday and Friday, where he visited several camps. refugees in this country which hosts more than a million.

At the end of June 2022, “the Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad) is facing a serious protracted humanitarian crisis, which has forced 4,820,871 people to flee their homes”, including nearly three million displaced people. in their countries, deplores the UNHCR in a press release presenting the visit of Mr. Grandi.

“The most affected country is Burkina Faso, which has nearly two million internally displaced people,” the Italian diplomat lamented Thursday evening in an interview with AFP in the Kalambari camp, which is home to some 8,000 refugees. Cameroonian about thirty km south of N’Djamena.

“Two years ago, we recorded 500,000 in Mali and Burkina Faso, which already seemed huge to me,” he assured a few hours earlier in the Chadian capital.

– “Too strong reaction” –

“It’s worrying, the countries that worry the most are Burkina Faso and Mali. It’s due to the action of armed groups that terrorize populations, empty villages and push people to big cities,” he said. estimated the Italian diplomat. “But it is also due to the overly muscular reaction of governments,” he added during a press conference in N’Djamena.

“The main action of governments” in the face of the jihadists, “it is security when it must be accompanied”, in particular by the development of “education”, “the fight against poverty and inequalities in the Sahel”, affirmed Mr. Grandi in his interview with AFP, hammering: “All this will weaken extremism, military action alone is not enough”.

“Added to this is the climate emergency, which deprives communities of resources and promotes conflicts (…), we need more humanitarian aid for all the countries of the Sahel”, concluded the chief. UNHCR, who was visiting other camps on Friday.

Mr. Grandi warmly thanked Chad, which is hosting “1,067,908 people in forced displacement”, according to the UNHCR. Mainly refugees who fled the Darfur conflict in Sudan, the civil war in the Central African Republic and clashes between communities in Cameroon, all neighboring countries, but also internally displaced persons due to attacks by jihadist groups Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Africa West (Iswap) in the Lake Chad region.

– Water crisis –

“The climate crisis has aggravated competition for resources, in particular limited access to water”, exacerbating conflicts between communities, analyzes the UNHCR in its press release.

This is precisely what has pushed some 40,000 Cameroonian refugees to neighboring Chad, fleeing a particularly fierce conflict since the end of 2021 in the far north of their country between Arab herders and fishermen and farmers of the Mousgoum ethnic group.

But in the Kalambari camp and its countless brick houses lined up, Mr. Grandi was freshly welcomed Thursday by a hundred refugees who were demonstrating to protest against their living conditions. “Our problems are not listened to”, “We are tired of all the deceptions”, could be read written in red marker on cardboard signs held up by the men.

Not far from a water pump from which flowed clear water with which women were filling their basins, Mr. Grandi received the grievances of refugee leaders.

“The roofs of the houses do not hold, beds are sorely lacking, we are provided with 5.75 kg of sorghum per month, 1.75 liters of oil and 1.5 kg of legumes, we finish this food in a week” , complains to AFP Gabriel Mati, secretary general of the Kalambari Refugee Committee.