Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso Food Security Alert: December 8, 2009

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Stable food security conditions despite historic floods of September 1, 2009

The floods of September 1-3 in Ouagadougou, Boucle du Mouhoun, East, Center-East, Central, North, Center-South, Central Plateau and the North have caused loss of human life, destruction of housing, loss of goods necessary for production and existence, of crops, and hydro-agricultural infrastructure affecting around 119,356 people. The recent surveys show the damage done to crops was not severe. Nationally, the amount of flooded cereal crops and gardens was around 22,200 hectares, or 0.6 percent of the total cereal sown. 330 hectares of vegetable gardens were damaged in Ouagadougou and the outlying areas and 2004 hectares in the rest of the country. This translated to a 1 percent loss of national vegetable garden production. Despite these losses, prices of cereal and garden products have remained stable. The mobilization of the State and its partners has, so far, adequately assisted those affected in terms of food, equipment, health and housing, etc. Those affected are employing strategies to recover their production methods and to begin their production activities again. The planned removal of temporary housing in Ouagadougou is a sign of a return to normalcy. There are no significant impacts on food security expected and no special needs beyond the projects already underway.

Households relying on garden production, informal trading, and artisans situated along the city's main thoroughfares are most affected by the loss of means of production. The majority of affected households in the informal sector, including those trading along the roads, have restarted trading activities despite their losses, allowing them to acquire revenue. In Kadiogo province, the Saaba dam was completely destroyed. This has considerably reduced garden production. In the other damaged garden production areas, the crops' short production cycle has enabled many people to begin a new production cycle as seed is available.

Food is ensured by the State, humanitarian groups and various donors at the relocation sites. During this harvest period, the supply at markets in the capital is normal and prices are falling. Fresh vegetable stocks at various markets throughout the capital are also normal. If various support and production means recovery activities are put in place, the floods' impact on the food security of affected populations will be solved.

The gradual resumption of activities by the affected people and the current decline in prices ensures access to food markets. However, the most vulnerable households, those headed by poor women, disabled, PVVIH etc., will need food assistance in addition to relocation assistance. Since March, the seasonal rise in cereal prices with the end of the garden season has shrunk access to food. Their food needs can be covered by the usual safety nets. To improve the food security status of affected people and enable them to provide their own food during this period, the affected households will need livelihoods support until the new crop harvest in September 2010.