Burkina Faso: Second biggest jump in displacement since the crisis started

The military coup in Burkina Faso in late January made headlines. Registration in the same month of more than 160,000 new Burkinabé refugees, a near-record number, was not. The jump marked the second-biggest monthly increase since the humanitarian crisis began in the country more than three years ago, said the Norwegian Refugee Council, Action Against Hunger, Médecins du Monde France and Oxfam.

“Introducing big personalities at high-level gatherings means nothing to people who don’t have proper housing, clean water, and can’t feed their children three times a day. We call on donor countries to fulfill the promises made at the Central Sahel Conference in October 2020,” said Hassane Hamadou, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Burkina Faso. “Crises in the region should not be tackled only when it is strategically convenient, or when the Sahel state is at the center of media attention. The international community has an obligation to alleviate human suffering, whether occurring near home or not.”

Since January 2019, the refugee population in Burkina Faso has grown by 2,000%, with more than 1.7 million people now displaced. More than two out of three are children. While most of this generation was raised away from home and with little access to schools, education funding remains very low. Overall funding for the humanitarian response is less than half of what is needed. It is imperative that the crisis in Ukraine does not divert funds and attention from the Sahel region this year, warn the signatories.

“Several donors have indicated that they will continue to cut 70% of our funding to support operations in Ukraine. We are very concerned that this will become a trend, making access to health care and other basic services increasingly scarce for refugees in Burkina Faso,” said Safia Torche, General Director of Médecins du Monde in Burkina Faso.

“The crisis in Ukraine is also likely to have an impact on soaring wheat prices, making an already dire situation worse,” said Grégoire Brou, Country Director for Action Against Hunger in Burkina Faso. “An estimated 3 million people face food insecurity in Burkina Faso and this number is likely to increase significantly this year during the lean season. Now is the time for mobilization of all, not release.”

As part of this upgrading effort, the newly appointed government must urgently respond to the country’s humanitarian emergency, not just the military and security dimensions of the crisis. We hope that the appointment of the former Secretary General of the Burkinabé Red Cross as Minister of Humanitarian Affairs will mark a new and strong collaboration with all humanitarian partners.

Distributed by the APO Group on behalf of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

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Burkina Faso: Second biggest jump in displacement since the crisis started

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