IASC Emergency Directors mission to Burkina Faso: Stronger International Support Needed as Humanitarian Crisis Deepens

Published Date

Press Release, Ouagadougou, 11 October 2019 –

Burkina Faso is grappling with a growing and unprecedented humanitarian situation: around 500,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the central and northern regions, a steep increase from around 80,000 in January 2019; hundreds of thousands of affected people in roughly a third of the country are struggling to produce and access food, water or medical services; the armed violence and insecurity have crippled health and education, with more than 68 health centres and 2,000 schools forced shut affecting respectively more than 800,000 people and 300,000 students.

“The mission was taken aback by the severity and urgency of the humanitarian crisis in Burkina’s central and northern regions. We must urgently step up the ongoing relief efforts to respond to current and foreseen humanitarian needs, for all conflict-affected populations, whose resources have been depleted” said Ms. Margot van der Velden, WFP, Director of Emergencies. “Increased international support is critical to shore up the efforts being made by the humanitarian community in Burkina Faso.”

Directors of 11 UN aid agencies and NGOs urged for a significantly increased attention and resources following a visit to Burkina Faso on 1 – 4 October during which they travelled in the Central North region and met with displaced people, civil society organizations and local NGOs in host communities, camps and schools, and held discussions with national and regional authorities on ways to enhance the humanitarian response.

“Tales of hardship abound among the many people we met in camps and in villages where they have sought refuge. We owe it to the people of Burkina to provide faster, adequate and commensurate humanitarian assistance. More urgency is needed to save lives and better protect populations”, said Mr. Julien Schopp, InterAction, Director of Humanitarian Practice.

With the rising needs, the humanitarian community in Burkina Faso revised the response plan in July, requesting for $187 million to assist 1.3 million people. As of October, just a third of the budget had been financed.

The delegation of emergency directors was composed of Ms. Margot van der Velden (Director of Emergencies, World Food Programme), Mr. Julien Shopp (Director of Humanitarian Practice, InterAction), Mr. Christian Gad (Head of Emergencies, Danish Refugee Council), Mr. Jeff Labovitz (Director, Department of Operations and Emergencies, International Organization for Migration), Mr. Dominique Burgeon (Director, Emergency and Resilience Division, Food and Agriculture Organization), Mr. David Carden (Deputy Director, Operations and Advocacy Division for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), Mr. Steven Fricaud (Director of Humanitarian Aid, Terre des Hommes), Mr. Aboubacar Koulibaly (Africa Team Leader, Crisis Bureau, UNDP), Mr. Andrew Mbogori (Principal Emergency Coordinator, Division of Emergency Services, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), Ms. Meritxell Relaño (Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Programmes, UNICEF), and Dr. Renee Van de Weerdt (Acting Director Emergency Operations, World Health Organization).