The Humanitarian Situation in Burkina Faso
The past two years have seen a sharp deterioration in the security situation across Burkina Faso’s northern and eastern regions (large parts of the East, Central North, North, Sahel and Boucle du Mouhoun regions) due to the presence of non-state armed groups – many with cross-border ties to extremists groups or movements in neighboring Mali and Niger. In 2020, ICRC classified the situation as a “non-international armed conflict”.
Overlaid across parts of the country considered most fragile due to political marginalization, climate variability and climate change and lack of economic opportunity, particularly for youth, the conflict and violence have resulted in the emergence of an unprecedented humanitarian emergency in a country more traditionally subject to chronic food and nutritional insecurity.
The conflict and violence have led to the displacement of more than one million people in just two years and has left 3.5 million people in need of assistance – a 60 per cent increase from January 2020 to January 2021.
Despite relatively favorable rains in 2020, food insecurity and malnutrition remain at alarming levels, most worrying in the areas affected by insecurity. In 2020, Burkina Faso saw its worst food security situation in more than a decade, with re-emergence of phase 4 conditions in two provinces and an estimated 11,000 people at risk of “catastrophic/famine” conditions. At the outset of 2021, the immediate risk of phase 5 conditions has abated, but more than 250,000 people remain in phase 4 “emergency” conditions.
More than 1.5 million people are in need of protection in 2021. More than 1/3 of children are at risk of recruitment by armed groups, forced labour and other protection concern and 1 per cent of IDP children are unaccompanied. Women and girls, who makes 54 per cent of IDPs are at increased risks of sexual and gender-based violence by armed groups.
As of January 2021, more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed with 118 deaths. All 13 regions in the country have registered COVID-19 since March 2020, with nearly 80 per cent of health districts reporting at least one case.
Humanitarian needs are higher than at any point since 2018, with 3.5 million people in need of assistance. The 2021 HRP will call for US$ 607 million to reach 2.9 million people with assistance.
The humanitarian response in Burkina Faso has been expanding – reaching 3 times as many people in 2020 as 2019, but sustained effort is required to respond at scale and provide a quality response that also prepares for a more protracted context and increased focus on building resilience.
Today, the HRP (February 2021) estimates that 3.5 million people need humanitarian assistance in six priority regions, compared to 2.2 million in January 2020. Worsening insecurity has sparked an unprecedented internal displacement crisis, now affecting all 13 regions of Burkina Faso: the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) has increased from 87,000 in January 2019 to more than 1 million in December 2020. Burkina Faso is also hosting some 19,400 refugees and asylum-seekers, most of whom are from Mali.
$607 million will be required for the response in 2021 (a 43 per cent increase over mid-2020, largely due to larger target figures and increasing unit costs, including due to COVID-19 related measures). 2.9 million people in need of multisectoral assistance will be targeted. This is an increase of 61 per cent compared to January 2020.The plan which will be formally presented to donors and Government on the 9 February 2021, targets the six regions of the country most affected by the insecurity and the resulting humanitarian consequences.