As Burkina Faso risks a major humanitarian disaster, the EU is stepping up emergency support to deliver aid to vulnerable populations where access is severely limited. Today Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič is in Burkina Faso, to express EU solidarity and launch an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation to deliver between up to 800 tons of essential supplies over 3 months.
Currently up to 1 million people live in areas under blockade according to the United Nations. Some areas have not received any food supplies for several months. Stocks of food and other items are completely exhausted, leading to market closures.
Meeting with Prime Minister Appolinaire Joachim Kyelem de Tambela, Commissioner Lenarčič reiterated the EU’s call for full humanitarian access to all populations in need across the country.
In 2022, the Commission allocated €49.9 million in humanitarian aid to Burkina Faso, including via the recent Air Bridge flight and €6.5 million from the European Development Fund to address the global food crisis. With the additional funding of €2.5 million announced today, the total humanitarian aid for Burkina Faso for 2022 will reach more than €52 million in total. Combined with the contributions of the EU Member States in a Team Europe approach, this amounts to a total of more than €140 million for 2022.
Burkina Faso’s complex and volatile crisis continues to deteriorate quickly and severely. The country is among the 10 poorest in the world.
In many parts of the country, agricultural food production is nonexistent due to lack of access to fields. In those areas the population is therefore now at high risk of starvation.
In addition, the country is suffering a worsening and unprecedented food insecurity crisis and significant deterioration in access to water and basic social services. During the lean season, it is estimated that 3.45 million will need emergency food assistance, including 630,000 in a pre-famine state.
The internal conflict has intensified, spreading across ever more regions of the country. Armed violence has caused massive population displacements and is increasingly targeting civilians. The first months of 2022 have been marked by a substantial increase in the number of internally displaced persons, with 805,000 new displacements recorded by CONASUR (National Committee for Emergency response and Rehabilitation) since the beginning of the year.
EU humanitarian aid focuses mainly on providing food assistance, health, nutrition, emergency shelter, access to water and sanitation, as well as protection to people in need. EU humanitarian aid also provides support to vulnerable internally displaced people and host populations affected by the ongoing armed conflict, and disaster response preparedness and education in emergencies to those who most need it.
Since March 2022, the Humanitarian Air Bridge operations, which have initially started due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are part of the European Humanitarian Response Capacity, a set of operational and logistical tools managed by the European Commission that supports humanitarian partners in delivering humanitarian aid.
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The humanitarian situation in Burkina Faso is beyond dramatic: hundreds of thousands of women, children and men are lacking food and other vital supplies. Much of this suffering is due to their villages being under blockade. To save lives and prevent the situation from worsening, we are organising a series of EU humanitarian aid flights, aiming at bringing urgent assistance in these hard-to-reach areas. The EU remains committed to support the Burkinabè population. Our humanitarian aid budget for the country has more than doubled since the beginning of the year. We have just released a further €2.5 million to rapidly meet the shelter needs of newly-displaced populations and for the provision of essential relief items. EU Humanitarian aid, which is firmly grounded on the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence – and will continue to be so – irrespective of any political considerations, must reach all those in need.