Children who fled violence in Burkina Faso on verge of hunger
Since 28 September 2019, the city of Kongoussi in the North Central region of Burkina Faso has been taking in thousands of people who had to flee their homes after attacks by armed groups in their home communities of Zimtenga, Bourzanga, Tongomayel and Kongoussi.
So far, the attacks have left around 20 people dead, with many more wounded. More than 45,000 people have been internally displaced from these recent attacks, including some 30,000 children under 18.
Emilie Fernandes, country director for Save the Children in Burkina Faso:
"These people came to Kongoussi with nothing more but the clothes on their backs, having left behind their possessions. They have lost their cattle, seen their homes destroyed, and they have not been able to take any food reserves with them. More than eighty percent of the families do not have food.
"Because of the insecurity, poverty and increased food prices, hunger is looming for half of the households. Children are likely to suffer first and foremost, as underfed children are prone to diseases. Some families reduce the numbers of meals; others go to their lands despite the dangers."
"In total, almost half a million people are displaced in the country now and these latest attacks will certainly add to the disastrous consequences, if nothing is done. The people are mainly hosted by families living in poor areas, who are sharing their already scarce resources. There is a dire need for food, health services, education, protection and humanitarian organisations need access to the displaced people to support them.
"Save the Children is already supporting the affected people – we have set up safe spaces where children can play and interact with others, so they can feel like children again after their terrible experiences. We have supported the government in their response with vaccinations and we are also providing non-food items, supporting mothers who are stressed so they can continue breastfeeding their child and engage in activities with the children who had to flee their homes and the vulnerable households who host them.
"However, resources so we can continue the response to this crisis are a real challenge, especially when it comes to the protection of children and responding to the rapid deterioration of the situation. We need funds to scale-up our humanitarian response given the latest spike in the conflict. The situation is not likely to calm down.
"Together with the government of Burkina Faso, which is already engaged in supporting its vulnerable citizens, the international community needs to act now; otherwise we could face a new unprecedented crisis in Burkina Faso with terrible consequences for children."
Spokespeople are available. To arrange an interview, please contact Florence Cissé in Senegal Florence.Cisse@savethechildren.org / Mob +221 77 359 07 77. During out of office hours, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 7831 650409