Burkina Faso

Humanitarian Action for Children 2021 - Burkina Faso

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  • In Burkina Faso, 2.9 million people need humanitarian assistance.1 This includes over 1 million people who are internally displaced (60 per cent children), a 600 per cent increase since April 2019;2 1.7 million people who lack access to health services;3 and 5.1 million children who are temporarily out of school due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.4 In addition, more than 106,000 people were affected by the worst floods in 10 years.5 Two municipalities have registered global acute malnutrition rates above 15 per cent.6

  • UNICEF will respond to the humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso by increasing its presence in the field; intensifying its community-based partnerships, particularly in areas with restricted humanitarian access; involving affected populations in identifying solutions to issues affecting children; and strengthening the linkages between humanitarian action, development programmes and peacebuilding efforts. By applying a community-based approach and working to rebuild social cohesion in Burkina Faso, UNICEF’s humanitarian response will contribute to addressing the root causes of the crisis.

  • UNICEF requires US$155 million to support the most vulnerable, crisis-affected children in Burkina Faso with a multi-sectoral package of humanitarian assistance.


The humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso is deteriorating. Some 2.9 million people need humanitarian assistance.11

As attacks by non-state armed groups continue, more civilians are being targeted or threatened and humanitarian access continues to decline. As of 24 September, the country had registered 380 security incidents in 2020 (582 civilian casualties, including 30 children),12 which has led to new waves of displacement. As of 8 September, 1 million people (60 per cent children) were internally displaced, compared with 170,000 people in April 2019 – a 600 per cent increase.13

The humanitarian crisis – including the COVID-19 pandemic – has limited access to basic social services. As of 25 August, 95 health centres were closed, depriving 1.7 million people of health services.14 Vaccine-preventable diseases are on the rise due to declines in immunization coverage.15

As of 10 March, 2,500 schools were closed due to insecurity, depriving 350,000 children of their right to education.16 On 16 March, all schools in Burkina Faso were closed, affecting 5.1 million children, 12 per cent of whom are living in the five most affected regions.17 Even as schools reopen, the deteriorating humanitarian context will significantly impact the education and learning of children and their physical and emotional well-being.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also severely impacted the country's capacity to keep water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services functional. An estimated 2.4 million people need access to safe water.

Persistent insecurity and the impacts of COVID-19 have also heightened the risks of emotional, physical and sexual and gender-based violence for children and families, while further disrupting the continuity of child protection services designed to prevent, mitigate and respond to these risks. Vital services such as psychosocial support, civil registration and support for survivors of violence have all been disrupted.

Burkina Faso was also hit with severe climate shocks in 2020, including the worst flooding in 10 years, which affected 106,000 people.19 These crises have led to one of the worst food situations of the last decade, with 15 per cent of the population facing crisis, emergency and famine levels of food insecurity. 20 A rapid nutrition survey conducted in 11 municipalities hosting internally displaced persons found emergency levels of global acute malnutrition (above 15 per cent) in two municipalities and high prevalence in four communes (10 to 15 per cent).21