Evolution of the context and crisis
Over the past two years, a grave protection-and-displacement crisis has emerged in Burkina Faso. It is grounded in insecurity and conflict, as non-State armed groups have increasingly targeted Government institutions and civilians with deadly attacks. As of October 2020, more than 1 million people have been displaced in less than two years.
The most severe impact is felt in already fragile parts of the country, where much of the population has long felt excluded from decision-making. Rising intercommunal tension, stigmatization between communities on the basis of ethnicity or other factors, and further erosion of trust in the Government linked to protection and human rights challenges were all exacerbating the situation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a further detrimental impact. Furthermore, Burkina Faso experienced heavy rains and violent winds in 2020, affecting 106,000 people – most of whom were already displaced by conflict.
The number of food-insecure people has nearly tripled over the past year, from 1.2 million to 3.3 million. For the first time in 10 years, the food security assessment (carried out in July 2020) classified two provinces of the Sahel region as being in emergency conditions (IPC 4), affecting 500,000 people. Of those people, 11,000 are at risk of catastrophic conditions (IPC 5). Global acute malnutrition rates are between 15 and 17 per cent, and severe malnutrition rates are 4 to 6 per cent among IDPs in several of the most affected and/or hard-to-reach areas of the Centre-Nord and Sahel regions.
Protection needs are increasing, with 2.1 per cent of IDPs living with disabilities, according to official sources. This is twice the national average. More than one third of children are at risk of recruitment by armed groups, forced labour or other protection concerns, and 1 per cent of IDP children are unaccompanied. Women and girls, who make up 54 per cent of IDPs, are at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence by armed groups; many are forced to adopt negative coping mechanisms, including sex for survival.
Nearly 1 million people are affected by the closure or minimal functioning of 323 health centres. When the new school year started, 350,000 children remained without access to education due to the closure of over 2,200 schools. COVID-19’s effect on the economy exacerbates different vulnerabilities. An August 2020 study by the National Institute of Statistics and Demography indicates that one quarter of households do not have access to basic foodstuffs at a given time, while 10 per cent of employed people lost their jobs.
Humanitarian funding to Burkina Faso has more than doubled in 2020, but underfunding remains a significant constraint on humanitarian action, as needs and requirements continue to outpace funding and capacity. For 2020, just 55 per cent of required funding had been received by 25 November.
Projected situation in 2021 and beyond
In total, 3.5 million people in areas covered by the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) need multisectoral humanitarian assistance. This is a 60 per cent increase from the start of 2020. More than 1.3 million people require support to ensure their physical and mental well-being. Despite their incredible generosity and resilience, the Burkinabé people are increasingly unable to cope with this multidimensional crisis.
People who need assistance are concentrated in six regions covered by the 2021 HRP: the Sahel, Centre-Nord, Nord, Boucle de Mouhoun, Est and Centre-Est (newly included in 2021). Among the most vulnerable groups are displaced people – both IDPs and refugees. Of those people, 19,000 are mainly Malian nationals; people in host communities, particularly where displaced people exceed residents; and people in areas where ongoing conflict and insecurity severely challenge humanitarian access. Women, girls, boys, the elderly and people living with disabilities experience the greatest concentration of needs.
Presidential and parliamentary elections will usher in a new Government in 2021. In the past, social upheaval has accompanied such transitions, increasing the risk of further challenges in access to basic social services such as health, education and public finance. The flooding and violent winds experienced in 2020, which severely affected already vulnerable households, are likely to return in 2021, according to meteorological information.
Response priorities in 2021
Given the worsening situation, further increases in response capacity are required in 2021, as well as concerted efforts to address disparities concealed by response-wide results. It will be essential to ensure greater capacity and coverage of rapid response action, secure high-quality and more durable materials, fulfil national and international standards, expand and standardize cash-based programming, and expand the coverage of protection referral systems and support services.
The humanitarian community has collectively prioritized and supported enhanced engagement with and accountability to communities. Initial perception and satisfaction survey results show that affected communities prioritize food assistance, health care and adequate shelter among their most urgent needs, as well as strengthened access to basic social services, including WASH, education, and protection services and support. The results of the same survey indicate that inadequate amounts of available assistance, both in the number of people reached and the duration of support, are sources of dissatisfaction.
The continued increase in funding requirements in 2021 is due to larger target figures and increasing unit costs, including due to COVID-19-related measures. New areas of humanitarian action have been included, such as site management and new common services, such as UNHAS and logistics. Some clusters also need to make significant investments, such as those relating to shelter and NFIs, for the benefit of IDPs after more than two years of limited and immediate-use focused efforts.
- Centre Africain pour les Applications de la Météorologie au Développement (ACMAD)