Burkina Faso: 275,000 people forced to flee violence

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), in a press release received by APA on Monday, sounded the alarm and pointed to…

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), in a press release received by APA on Monday, sounded the alarm and pointed to the increase in violence and the “slow and insufficient humanitarian response” to explain the resurgence of IDPs.IDPs are on the rise again in Burkina Faso. According to NRC, an average of 13,000 people a week have been forced to flee their homes since April. The government authorities in charge of registering the affected populations are struggling to manage the ever-increasing number of displaced people, the organisation warned.


Based on this observation, the humanitarian organisations have been asking since June for registration and information sharing to be done within a maximum of one week.


“We are asking the government to let us intervene and provide support. Relief organisations have the capacity to help people in the most inaccessible areas where help is urgently needed, complementing the essential work of the authorities,” said NRC’s director in Burkina Faso, Manenji Mangundu, quoted in the release.


The slow and inadequate humanitarian response is forcing people to choose between insecurity and hunger.


“Despite the upsurge in conflict, the humanitarian response to help people in need is lagging far behind. A serious lack of funding for aid, combined with a lack of capacity on the part of local authorities, is preventing humanitarian organisations like ours from reacting in time,” said Mangundu.


The humanitarian response for the country in 2021 requires some USD 607 million. It is only 24 percent funded to date, the Norwegian organisation lamented.


According to the government’s humanitarian body, CONASUR, more than 1.4 million people are internally displaced in Burkina Faso. It also estimates that 4.8 million people are food insecure and 2.9 million people are acutely food insecure.


According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, the failure to meet urgent humanitarian needs forces vulnerable families to make an impossible choice between feeding their children and their own safety. “Many people tell the NRC that they want to return home to access their food stocks, despite the risk of attacks,” the statement said.


Other families, according to the NRC, are making a different but equally painful choice: to stay in a besieged area where food shortages have become so critical that there are only leaves to eat or to walk for days in search of food and risk being attacked.


In recent weeks, the aid agency said, dozens of women from the town of Mansila (Sahel region) have walked 40 kilometres to the town of Sebba (Sahel region) with their children in search of food, but they have received no help since they fled.


“Hunger makes you cry for help but no one comes. People feel like they are no longer part of Burkina Faso. We feel we are not worthy of help,” said Bandé, a mother who has just escaped from Mansila and was quoted in the document.


“If the choice is to die on the road or to starve to death in Mansila, it is better to at least die trying to get out,” she added.


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