Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso: Population Movement in Tougan - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) (MDRBF016)

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Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Since the beginning of November, attacks by armed opposition groups have intensified in the Boucle du Mouhoun Region, specifically in Sourou province. A series of attacks between 4 and 16 November targeting security posts and civil servants in the commune of Di destroyed the little safety that existed, causing a new wave of displacement out of Di. On 18 November, the armed opposition groups took advantage of the poor security coverage resulting from these repeated attacks to threaten the population with reprisals for those who did not leave DI and its surroundings. Fearing for their safety, the population fled the commune of DI and the surrounding area en masse to seek refuge, mainly in Tougan, Gnessa, Toma, Dédougou,
Ouagadougou, etc.

According to Burkina Faso Red Cross (BRCS) initial assessment, more than 5,000 people, mostly women and children, from Di have settled in Tougan. This is in addition to the fact that the town was already home to 14,922 internally displaced persons (IDPs), including more than 7,842 temporarily displaced students who had come from other areas where schools had been closed.

The displaced populations, who mainly lived from agriculture, fishing, and livestock, are being deprived of their already precarious source of income in a difficult harvest climate. Di is a large production area that was in the harvest and drying period for rice production and market gardening. However, they had to abandon everything when they fled to the host areas, losing their livelihoods for most, while exacerbating the food crisis in the entire region.

During their displacement, many were able to take little or nothing with them and others were looted beforehand. According to previous assessments, IDPs who found refuge in Sourou have lost their material possessions and are now living in host households in Tougan or informal sites with a pronounced relocation trend to urban centers, mainly to have better access to social services and humanitarian assistance. Women heads of household and children also see their level of vulnerability accentuated because access to adequate shelter is increasingly limited because of saturation or high prices. These populations have urgent needs for essential household items (EHIs), livelihoods, and financial support to meet their rent and health care bills.

Social, health, and school services in Tougan are also under severe pressure, including health, education, drinking water supply, etc. The psychological impact on IDPs and people who still have family in the threatened areas is growing, reinforced by financial uncertainty and precarious living conditions.

The situation could deteriorate further in the coming days given the changing context of the last few days. In fact, other localities have been visited by the armed opposition groups, who have made threats and given ultimatums to the population to leave their respective villages. As such, the town of Tougan is likely to receive new displaced persons in the coming days. Given the magnitude of the situation, current interventions are far from covering the needs and the National Society does not have sufficient material and financial capacities to deal with them. The support of the Movement partners would be very beneficial to the BRCS, whose actions would greatly contribute to improving the living conditions of Di's IDPs.

Since 2016, the entire country has faced attacks perpetrated by the armed opposition groups. The most affected areas are the Sahel, Boucle du Mouhoun, Centre-North, East, and North regions that share the border with Mali and Niger. These attacks target Defense and Security Forces (FDS) posts, infrastructure (medical, educational, social, etc.), and civilians. They kidnap people, loot livestock and crops, and destroy infrastructure and fields. These losses exacerbate the already serious humanitarian crisis in the country (food insecurity, difficult climate and living conditions, etc.).

This situation has led to the closure of many institutions, including schools, health centers, and other basic social services in areas plagued by insecurity. In this context, people are fleeing en masse to the more secure provincial and municipal capitals, primarily the towns of Djibo, Dori, and Gorom Gorom in the Sahel; Kaya, Kongoussi, Tougouri, and Bouroum in the central north; Titao and Ouahigougouya in the north; Fada, Pama, and Gayeri in the east; and Nouna and Tougan in the Boucle du Mouhoun

According to an OCHA report dated from 29 September, the number of IDPs had risen to 1,423,378 as of 31 August 2021 (an increase of 4.04 percent compared to the previous months). The North Central, Sahel, East, and North regions remained the most affected. Some 55,214 new IDPs were recorded, compared to an average of 35,768 per month observed during the first half of 2021. Highlights of all humanitarian reports raised by National Societies include the fact that insecurity and known attacks in the "3 borders zone" (the country's border with Mali, Niger, and Benin) are worsening. The Boucle du Mouhoun, which was the least targeted at the beginning of the crisis, is beginning to experience an increase in attacks, thus an increase in the number of displaced persons. The Mouhoun region is currently the least covered by humanitarian assistance, according to BRCS data and USAID's Country Response Mapping Report from 30 September. The assistance identified in this report is in the areas of nutrition and food assistance. The needs for WASH, health, shelter, etc. remain very high for the displaced people who were already established in the area and will increase with the new waves of displaced people registered this month. In addition, given the general humanitarian context of the country, which has been experiencing a food crisis for several years, the growing drought, problems of access to water and health care, population movements from neighbouring countries, etc., adds to the urgency of this displacement crisis. In addition to this, even the interventions already identified in the Boucle du Mouhoun do not cover the newly displaced and still very few in Tougan. This operation will provide immediate assistance to these new waves of IDPs who have settled in a locality that does not have humanitarian coverage and can limit the risks of WASH, health, food and housing support.