More than three million face hunger in Burkina Faso: UN

More than three million people face hunger in Burkina Faso, a drought-stricken West African country plagued by jihadist violence, United Nations agencies said Friday.

The number of people facing food insecurity has risen by more than 50 percent since March as the coronavirus epidemic has exacerbated other crises in the country, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said in a joint statement.

Burkina Faso is one of the world’s poorest countries and a jihadist insurgency has killed more than 1,100 people in five years and forced nearly a million people from their homes.

“Some 3.3 million people are estimated to be facing acute food insecurity during the current lean season, that period which precedes the harvest in September,” the UN agencies said.

Around three percent of people in the northern Sahel provinces of Oudalan and Soum are facing extreme food consumption gaps, resulting in acute malnutrition.

“We’re seeing an alarming deterioration in food security across the worst-hit parts of the country,” said David Bulman, WFP’s country director and representative in Burkina Faso.

WFP estimates that $51 million (43 million euros) is urgently needed to respond to the growing needs in the country.

The Sahel region of Burkina Faso has been facing recurrent drought for several years.

Burkina Faso has battled a jihadist insurgency since 2015, while inter-community and ethnic violence have led to more bloodshed and have further stretched already slim resources in the country’s Sahel north.

The country’s council of ministers in June announced a plan for 25 billion CFA francs ($42 million) to help vulnerable populations.

They also called for “urgent responses” to support the agricultural and livestock industries, for malnourished children under five to receive assistance and for the supply of drinking water to be bolstered. (AFP)

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