With drought and rising food prices have taken their toll in Burkina Faso, food crisis has engulfed the region affecting some 2.8 million people.
Reports say food insecurity have forced many families have had to sell their livestock to cover their household food needs or they are eating the seeds that they should plant for the next season Burkina Faso
To respond to the food crisis in Burkina Faso, the United Nations humanitarian chief today stressed the importance of building resilience in the country for future emergencies.
On her two-day visit to country, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos met with Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore and other Government officials, with whom she discussed the Government’s response plans and review the current efforts of humanitarian agencies based in the country.
Ms. Amos also met some of the Malian refugees located in a camp in the city of Mentanao.
She cites that thile they are very appreciative of the people and Government of Burkina Faso, they are worried about a number of things.
She notes that there are problems particulary the limited water and sanitation facilities, the quality and type of food, and the need for schools for young people.
“I was pleased to see that the people in the local communities, who are sharing the little they have, are also being helped.” -Ms. Amos
Ms. Amos underlined the importance of shifting from response measures to implementing policies that will strengthen the country’s economy.
She commends the Government’s approach to address the crisis, which includes improving water conservation, making irrigation systems more efficient, increasing agriculture output through better fertilization and seed choices, and improving livestock management.
“The focus is on bridging the gap between relief efforts now and longer-term development initiatives, and we need the resources to do it.” – Ms. Amos
In addition, OCHA reports that there are also some 60,000 Malian refugees in the country in need of assistance.
Earlier this this week, Ms. Amos and Burkina Faso’s Minister for Territorial Administration, Security and Decentralization launched an appeal for $126 million dollars for dealing with the food and nutrition insecurity.
On March this year, the United Nations food agency reported that countries in the Sahel are at risk of full-scale food and nutrition crisis.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that at least 15 million people are estimated to be at risk of food insecurity in Sahel region, including 5.4 million people in Niger, three million in Mali, 1.7 million in Burkina Faso and 3.6 million in Chad, as well as hundreds of thousands in Senegal, the Gambia, and Mauritania.
To address the predicted severe food crisis, FAO called for $69.8 million in additional funding to prevent a full-blown food and nutrition crisis from unfolding in Africa’s Sahel region.
According to FAO, some 790,000 farming and herding households in Sahel have been affected by droughts.
There were also increases in the number of displaced persons in the region. A total of 63,000 internally displaced persons in Mali who fled from conflict in the country’s north, and more than 60,000 Malian refugees in neighbouring countries were reported by FAO.
The Sahel has regularly been afflicted by food insecurity as drought, poor harvests and rising food prices have left the region on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.
The region stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and includes Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and the northern regions of Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal.