GENEVA (AP) — The head of the U.N. refugee agency and a senior U.S. official for refugee issues say a crisis of enormous proportions is brewing in a nine-nation region of northern Africa.
Just back from Burkina Faso, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard say they saw three main factors — severe hunger, political and social unrest in Mali, and hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people in the region — that could spread across sub-Saharan African borders.
Guterres said Friday that "there is a very serious threat for peace and security, not only for the whole region but, in my opinion, with global implications."
The U.N. humanitarian office says 18 million people face severe hunger and malnutrition in the Sahel region.
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