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September 05, 2022

Burkina Faso | 2 million displaced amid worst food crisis in a decade

Nearly one in 10 people in Burkina Faso have been displaced by conflict. Most worryingly, the rate of severe food insecurity has nearly doubled compared to last year, with over 600,000 people in emergency hunger levels during this lean season, warns 28 international aid organizations operating in the country. An urgent increase in funding for humanitarian assistance is required to respond to the current situation.

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“We now see more and more people forced to flee not from their hometowns, but increasingly from places where they had previously sought refuge,” explains Philippe Allard, Director of Humanity & Inclusion in Burkina Faso. “Each new displacement increases their vulnerability, and chips away at their resources and mental health.”

The multiplication of violent attacks has driven more people to flee between January and July 2022 than during the entire year of 2021. Meanwhile, large displacement shocks are becoming more frequent. Four years after its start, the displacement crisis in Burkina Faso remains one of the three fastest growing in the world.

“Too often, displacement and hunger come as a one-two punch,” says Hassane Hamadou, Country Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council. “People forced to move have left behind their fields and livestock. Many displaced families report being down to one meal a day in order to allow children to eat twice. Recent waves of displacement only heighten the urgency to act.”

“For children, who make up for the majority of the displaced, leaving their home behind is traumatic enough but having to flee again and again while trying to survive robs families of any chance to rebuild their lives,” adds Benoit Delsarte, Country Director of Save the Children.

Ousmane, 15, is one of many children facing such daunting uncertainty: “I have been displaced twice. It all started the day armed men came to my village and told us to follow their instructions or leave. My parents and I first sought refuge in a nearby village. Unfortunately, shortly after that, they came there and burned down schools, markets and stores. We were forced to flee, again.”

The town of Seytenga, near the border with Niger, hosted over 12,000 displaced people when it came under attack on June 11, killing dozens. In the following hours and days, over 30,000 people fled Seytenga and arrived in Dori, a city that had already tripled in size since the start of the crisis.

Despite immense challenges to provide shelter, water, healthcare and education among other essential services, communities have rallied to support each other. But more humanitarian support is critically needed.

“Host communities across the country have shown remarkable solidarity by taking in tens of thousands of displaced people, opening their homes and sharing their food for months, if not years on end,” says Antoine Sanon, Response Director of World Vision in Burkina Faso. “The efforts of the international community to provide lifesaving assistance should match theirs.”

“These communities are experiencing an exceptionally difficult lean season due to the food crisis resulting, in part, from last year's catastrophic agricultural season,” adds Omer Kabore, Oxfam Country Director. "The effects of climate change, mass displacement and the rising global cost of grain products have combined into a perfect storm engulfing over 3.4 million Burkinabè.”

Signatory organizations call for an urgent surge of financial resources. Eight months into the year, the humanitarian response is only reaching 36% of the funding required despite soaring needs.

Signatories

Action Against Hunger
Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA)
Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI)
Comité International pour l’Aide d’Urgence et le Développement (CIAUD)
Concern Worldwide
Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI)
Christian Aid
Danish Refugee Council
Geneva Call
Help
Humanity & Inclusion
IEDA Relief (International Emergency and Development Aid)
INTERSOS
International Rescue Committee
LVIA (Association Internationale Volontaires Laiques)
Lutheran World Relief
Médecins du Monde-France
Médicos del Mundo
Norwegian Refugee Council
Oxfam
Plan International
Première Urgence Internationale
Save the Children
Secours Islamique France
Solidarités International
Terre des Hommes
Welthungerhilfe
World Vision