Burkina Faso: Armed conflict drains a population already hit by drought

The Sahel region is experiencing its worst drought in more than a decade, plunging more than 10.5 million people into malnutrition. For Burkina Faso, the situation is particularly worrying because the country is suffering the consequences of the conflict which is aggravating the current food crisis.

Some families have now taken refuge far from their usual homes, abandoning their farms.

They have been forced to use available arable land in these new areas which are now facing severe droughts.

“We came here because the armed groups chased us out of our village. He is a good person who allows me to cultivate this piece of land. But because of the lack of rain, the harvests are bad. Our fields in the village “There are pockets of drought here. The rains don’t come all the way. The sorghum I planted didn’t survive and I had to plant cowpeas instead, without success,” said said Larba Mathieu Yougbare, a farmer and internally displaced person.

The situation remains the same in the health sector. The main culprits are children and nursing mothers and pregnant women. Lack of sufficient food has led to malnutrition, especially among children. The number of people affected has increased exponentially in a short time.

“We were expecting 221 cases of malnutrition in our health facility for the whole year. Today, in the space of three months, we have already reached 211 cases of malnutrition”, revealed Harouna Sawadogo, the head nurse of the dispensary. of Fada N’Gourma.

“The real problem today is a series of failures in other systems which have unfortunately led to a food crisis: for example, no action or very little action on adaptation to climate change, therefore funding for the climate which unfortunately does not reach the places which have to cope, such as Somalia, Mali or the countries of the Sahel, with the vagaries of the weather, drought and the advance of the desert, and which, unfortunately, find no solution,” said Patrick Youssef, ICRC regional director for Africa.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the violence has led to the internal displacement of more than 1.8 million people, or nearly 10% of the country’s population. With 80% of the population depending on agriculture for their livelihood, the displaced immediately become more vulnerable, dependent on aid to survive.