UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Violence and insecurity have sparked an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in parts of Burkina Faso, Mali and western Niger, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday.
The number of internally displaced people has risen to more than 750,000, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, quoted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as saying.
The number is 10 times more people than a year ago, Dujarric told a regular press briefing.
According to the World Food Programme, 2.4 million people need food assistance in central Sahel, a figure that could rise due to continued displacements, said Dujarric.
"As you can imagine, the crisis is affecting the most vulnerable families, compounding the impact of food insecurity, malnutrition and epidemics," he said.
The United Nations and humanitarian organizations, in support of national and local authorities, are scaling up their assistance and need over 700 million U.S. dollars for the three countries, he said, adding that the humanitarian appeal is only 47 percent funded.
The Sahel is the northernmost part of sub-Saharan Africa, a vast belt stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Red Sea.