Burkina Faso’s unprecedented humanitarian crisis calls for stronger international support

Burkina Faso’s unprecedented humanitarian crisis calls for stronger international support

21/10/2019

Increased insecurity in Burkina Faso has resulted in a deepening and unprecedented humanitarian situation, forcing nearly half a million people from their homes. The number of internally displaced people has been growing exponentially since the beginning of the year. From 80 000 people in January 2019, the current caseload is up by 120 percent compared with July 2019 and this figure has well surpassed the total projection for 2019.

The Emergency Directors of 11 United Nations agencies and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) urged to quickly scale up the response to the deteriorating situation following their joint mission to Burkina Faso on 1–4 October 2019, during which they travelled in the Centre-North region. There, they met with displaced people and host communities, as well as civil society organizations, local NGOs, and national and regional authorities with whom they discussed how to improve the humanitarian response. “Given the situation, we must change the paradigm of intervention for an effective, proactive, relevant and inclusive response, as stronger support is fundamental to protect the significant development gains achieved in the country”, says Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Resilience Division.

About 687 460 people are severely food insecure according to the latest Cadre Harmonisé (April 2019) and 587 000 children are at risk of malnutrition. Vulnerable people, mainly in the Centre-North, East, North and Sahel regions, are struggling to produce and access food. Reduced planting, cultivated areas and livestock production have significantly affected food availability and staple food prices, leading to higher levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.

As 80 percent of people in Burkina Faso rely on pastoral and agropastoral activities as their main source of food and income, providing livelihood assistance is crucial to allow them to produce their own food. Together with the World Food Programme (WFP), the two agencies have developed a joint FAO/WFP response plan requiring USD 50 million to address the immediate needs of 500 000 crisis-affected people. Both displaced and host communities are to engage in cash-for-work activities and receive agricultural production support during the dry season - an opportunity to not only allow for the establishment of food stocks, but also to prepare for the next rainy season.