2.15 million people in Burkina Faso are on the brink of facing starvation. Of that number, over 900 000 have fled their home towns in search of protection from the ongoing war between terrorist groups and state security forces.
Of those that have fled, 497 000 have failed to secure shelter. Host communities are getting overwhelmed by the number of displaced individuals and can no longer offer their homes. The World Food Program on the other hand reports that its funding will run out in 3 months if assistance is not received.
“With [the] current funding outlook, WFP distributions will halt in October 2020. WFP requires US$5.14 million for its operations until the end of the year, ” reads the UN report. Burkina Faso faces one of the worst African cases of conflict between armed jihadist terrorist groups and state security forces. Over 1300 casualties have been reported in the past year.
Jihadist groups have also blocked major towns denying residents access to food and medicine. “Suffocating major towns appears to have become an integrated component in the evolving strategy of militant groups…I believe it brittles the already weak relationship between civilians and the state,” says Heni Nsaibia of Menastream who had to request an escort of state security forces while delivering donated food to Djibo town in the Sahel region.
Nsaibia is one of the many philanthropists that have faced resistance from terrorist groups. In June, a WFP truck delivering food items to Djibo was hijacked by armed militants. The driver was returned unharmed, but all the contents of the truck were looted.
The WFP has however vowed to “continue to strengthen its security and humanitarian access protocols to cope with the growing security challenges.” According to Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ghazouani, president of Mauritania “the Sahel region requires, more than ever, increased and coordinated attention from the States of the region and the international community.” More financial and political support for humanitarian response is urgently needed.