Coronavirus is predicted to push more than 1 million people from their homes across the Sahel, creating havoc in an already highly fragile region, according to new forecasting software.
Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria in West Africa are predicted to see displacement as a result of the increasing conflict, unemployment and human rights abuses brought on by fallout from the coronavirus, the analytical tool developed by the humanitarian group Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has found.
Analysing national factors such as economy, conflict level, climate, governance and food security, the Foresight tool uses open data from sources including the World Bank and the UN to predict forced displacement in a given country.
The software has shown a high degree of accuracy when tested in Afghanistan and Myanmar and has been lauded as a potential game-changer for the humanitarian sector by one of its funders, Denmark’s ministry of foreign affairs.
According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes has doubled within the past decade to nearly 80 million. Conflict, lack of human rights and poor governance can increase the likelihood of large-scale displacement by more than 25%.