Since 2018, the sharp deterioration of the Burkina Faso security situation has led to a serious worsening of the humanitarian situation, including massive population displacement, particularly affecting the Sahel, Centre -Nord, Nord, Est, Centre-Est and Boucle du Mouhoun. Further escalation was observed in 2020 and spilled over in 2021, with a greater toll on human lives and on vulnerable populations.
As of March 2021, over 1.14 million people have been displaced and new displacements are reported on a daily basis. The unprecedented humanitarian emergency has left over 3.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance – according to the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan. Health services, schools and markets have been closed due to growing insecurity in several parts of the country, seriously affecting the population’s ability to sustain their livelihoods and healthy living standards. Across the country, over 300 health centres are closed or operate at a minimum, depriving 822,000 people of access to services; over 2,200 schools have closed, affecting 316,000 children having lost access to education. COVID-19 and its impact on market dynamics and remittances from the diaspora added another layer of vulnerability to an already fragile ecosystem.
Widespread insecurity has reduced humanitarian access in Burkina Faso over the last 2 years. Humanitarian actors are also targeted by non-state armed groups (NSAGs) trying to prevent the delivery of humanitarian assistance. During 2020, food intended as either general food assistance or as part of school feeding programmes has been stolen by NSAGs. While this represents a limited percentage of all distributions, it remains an additional challenge to assist those in need.
In 2020, the deterioration of the security situation, high levels of displacement and floods severely affected agricultural productivity in specific areas of the country affected by the volatile security situation. In these areas, a decline in agricultural production of between 20 and 50 percent was observed compared to previous years. This led to the early depletion of household stocks, increasing the dependence of internally displaced populations (IDPs) and host populations on markets and humanitarian assistance. While cereal production at national level is expected at 16 percent above average (5-year period), some provinces in the northern and eastern regions of the country face production deficits from 19 to 38 percent compared to their usual production rates, as households have less access to fields due to insecurity and the displacement of populations. All the above factors have had a negative incidence on the evolutions of prices of cereals in the last years. 2021 prices are projected to increase significantly following a similar trend to 2011/2012 and 2017/2018 – food crisis years in Burkina Faso. This will have negative repercussions on the lives of majority of population living in Burkina Faso, who rely on such key staples as a means of subsistence.