The humanitarian situation is deteriorating in Burkina Faso, scarred by repeated armed attacks since the beginning of the year. The World Food Program (WFP) has alerted the government and the international community to the consequences of such a crisis, which could be closer in time to that experienced by Syria.
Nearly 500,000 people forced to leave their homes. Children and new mothers threatened by acute malnutrition … A worst-case scenario is emerging in Burkina Faso, where extremist violence has taken root since the Islamist insurgency that began in 2015.
« A dramatic human crisis is taking place in Burkina Faso and has disrupted the lives of millions of people, » said World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley. « Nearly half a million people have been forced out of their homes and one third of the country is now a conflict zone. Our field teams find that levels of malnutrition are well beyond emergency thresholds – this means that young children and new mothers are on the brink. If the world really wants to save lives, it’s time to act now, « he added.
Like Mali, Burkina is today at the heart of an extremist fury that has grown since the beginning of 2019. The number of attacks in this Sahelian country in the first quarter of 2019 largely exceeds the total number of attacks in 2018. The number of civilian deaths reported is four times higher than last year. Many schools have had to close and in a country where four out of five people depend on agriculture for their livelihood, people abandon their fields, raising the specter of famine.
Avoid a Syrian scenario
Marwa Awad, a WFP spokesperson who visited the affected areas, paints a bleak picture of the situation inspired by the victims’ testimonies. « People here told us that they saw the exploitation of inequality, with young people joining armed groups, » she said, pointing to a risk of increased trafficking in human beings. , become regular in the Sahel band. « We do not want another Syria, » she warned
Earlier this year, the United States was also worried about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso. The months that followed probably corroborated this concern. Burkina has also experienced the worst attack in recent history in early November when 37 civilians were killed in an ambush against a convoy of workers for the Canadian gold mining company Semafo, in eastern Burkina Faso.
The country’s army still seems overwhelmed by the proliferation of attacks and the strength of the G5 Sahel set up to contain the jihadist threat in the Sahel still suffers from a lack of funding and structural failures.