Burkina Faso's complex and volatile crisis continues to deteriorate quickly and severely. The country is among the 10 poorest in the world.
The internal conflict has intensified, spreading across all regions of the country. Armed violence has caused massive population displacements, with a substantial increase in 2022, and is increasingly targeting civilians.
In addition, the country is suffering an unprecedented food crisis and significant deterioration in access to water and essential social services.
A state of emergency remains in force in 14 of the 45 provinces. Difficult access to populations in need of humanitarian assistance is a major concern.
What are the needs?
Conflict affects most of the regions in Burkina Faso, especially in bordering areas in the north and east of the country and intensifies in western and southern regions.
Almost 1.9 million people are internally displaced due to violence, including over 940 000 children as of end December 2022, according to the government. Indications from the field show the situation keeps deteriorating at a worrying pace.
The widespread violence affects people’s basic needs and income opportunities in 40% of the territory. Access to fields and markets is challenging, and families cannot always meet their needs. In August 2022, the United Nations increased the estimated number of Burkinabe requiring humanitarian aid by 40% to 4.9 million. This includes 3.4 million people who are severely food insecure.
The authorities impose restrictive measures in the context of the ongoing conflict. These may limit the movement of populations, or impact their daily life (through, for example, a ban on motorbikes in some communes or establishing military zones where people are requested to leave). The humanitarian response may also be altered due to the ban on cash transfers in the Sahel region.
These measures may also prevent humanitarian partners from reaching those in need. Access remains a challenge due to the conflict dynamics and actions taken by non-state armed groups (use of explosive devices, irregular controls on roads, attacks on vital infrastructure such as water points, etc).
The conflict has also severely affected educational and health facilities. As of December 2022, over 6,250 schools remained closed, leaving more than 1 million pupils out of school.
Over 600 health facilities are affected by conflict, of which 211 are entirely closed. This leaves over 2.4 million individuals with restricted access to health care. Epidemics such as cholera and meningitis occur regularly.
How are we helping?
In 2023, the EU has allocated €25.5 million for humanitarian aid in the country.
Last year, we mobilised €58.7 million to support humanitarian actions in Burkina Faso. This included an indicative amount of €6.5 million from the European Development Fund to address the food crisis.
These funds will support actions on (i) food insecurity and malnutrition; (ii) protection; (iii) health; (iv) nutrition; (v) shelter; (vi) water, sanitation and hygiene; (vii) education; (viii) disaster preparedness activities, and (ix) rapid response.
EU humanitarian aid focuses on supporting vulnerable internally displaced people and host populations affected by the ongoing armed conflict. In the context of fast-growing crises, particular attention is paid to rapid response to the basic needs of newly-displaced individuals.
Supporting the operations to enable partners to operate in a complex environment is also key in this context, the EU notably supports humanitarian air operations. We also contribute to build the capacity of local organisations to prepare for, and respond to, emergencies.
Uprooted Burkinabe people and host communities receive food assistance, shelter, and essential items. Our priority is also to improve access to health care and mental health support to help people overcome trauma or other protection issues due to conflict.
EU support provides education in an environment where schools have been closed and teachers and students face threats from armed groups. Protection is mainstreamed in all funded actions.
EU humanitarian aid funds the delivery of emergency food assistance during the lean season – the crucial period of the year between harvests, normally running from June to September, when food reserves are depleted. At the same time, the assistance provides free nutritional care for malnourished children under 5 years old.
We are also supporting actions on disaster risk reduction. Ongoing programmes include increasing communities’ preparedness to face health risks and strengthening the national response system to prevent and manage food and nutrition crises.
We also support preparedness activities undertaken by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in response to epidemics and other hazards.
To reinforce people's ability to cope with crises, the EU links its humanitarian emergency assistance with its longer-term development cooperation.
In this respect, EU development assistance in Burkina Faso has supported a national programme to provide free health care for children under 5 years old. This ensures that life-saving interventions addressing malnutrition are maintained, beyond the immediate, short-term emergency measures funded by humanitarian aid. Other EU instruments are being mobilised in the field of resilience and social cohesion.
In addition, the European Commission provided €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems.
Last updated: 06/02/2023
Facts & figures
3.53 million people estimated to need emergency food assistance during the 2023 lean season, a 333% increase compared to the 2015-2020 average (Cadre Harmonisé, March 2022).
More than 1.88 million internally displaced people (CONASUR, December 2022).
Over 302,000 new displaced people from January to December 2022.
Hosting around 35,000 refugees, mainly from Mali (UNHCR, December 2022).
More than 179,000 malnourished children required life-saving treatment in 2022.
EU humanitarian funding:
€25.5 million in 2023
€230 million since 2014