Re-location of Malian refugees located near the Malian border
The UNHCR Operation in Burkina Faso is currently focusing on re-locating the Malian refugees located near the Malian border to a safer refugee camp called Goudebou, on the outskirt of the city of Dori (capital of the Sahel Region). Currently, most of the refugee sites in Burkina Faso are located at less than 50 km away from the border with Mali, which is UNHCR standard to be able to provide more security to the refugees. Re-location exercise targets UNHCR's largest refugee site, Fererio (8,221 Refugees), which is located only 25km from the border and Gandafabou (2,974 Refugees) 30km from the border.
The current re-location will ensure that refugees are placed in a safer location within Burkina Faso as the proximity to the border puts the refugees at risk of armed attacks and could potentially affect the civilian and humanitarian character of the camp as well as expose children to recruitment. Additionally, being located closer to Dori will facilitate the provision of assistance to the refugees as the sites in Burkina Faso are dispersed within a wide geographic region, with a very difficult terrain, which limits the access to humanitarians. Security concerns also limits the access of humanitarians to the camps.
To date, the relocation exercise, which started on the 30th November, has already relocated 2,172 refugees (506 Households). Among those, 256 vulnerable persons were re-located by special transport (in ambulances and separate vehicles). As most of the refugees are nomads, the operation has also re-located 947 small ruminants to the new site of Goudebou. Before their relocation the Protection team ensures that vulnerable refugees are identified. Upon their arrival at Goudebou, refugees are temporarily sheltered in a transit center before receiving their shelter kit by UNHCR Partners, the NRC, for them to build their traditional shelters. Also, during their re-location, refugees also receive a thorough medical screening a day before their travel as well as during their travels as frequent stops ensures that the medical team checks on the travelers.
Partners involved in this exercise include the CONAREF (identification of those willing to re-locate), Burkina Faso Red Cross (food distribution), IEDA Relief (identification of parcels in Goudebou), Ordre de Malte (transport of vulnerable refugees), WFP (provision of Fortified Biscuits to the passengers), NRC (construction of traditional shelters in Goudebou) and OCADES/Caritas (provides one of the trucks for the re-location). In the camp of Goudebou itself, other partners are actively involved in improving the living conditions of the refugees, these include Oxfam for water and sanitation, OCADES for the distribution of firewood, Terre des Hommes for Protection, among others.