Violence is intensifying, coronavirus threatens, and food supplies are running out. The humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso could be about to get much worse.
For many in Burkina Faso, it’s becoming harder to access food, clean water and other essentials. At least 700,000 people have been forced to flee their homes because of fighting between communities. More than a thousand schools have shut and nearly a quarter of a million children are missing out on their education.
There is also the growing threat of coronavirus spreading. Although the number of reported cases (894) and deaths (53) is relatively low at the moment, the virus has already hit some areas where people who’ve fled their homes are living. These places are usually crowded and often don’t have adequate supplies of clean water and healthcare facilities.
There is the growing threat of coronavirus spreading.
This year’s lean season – the period between harvests – is predicted to be one of the most serious in decades. In recent months, rainfall has been erratic and scarce, meaning farmers have had fewer crops. Many people are now running out of food.
Harder to reach
Tearfund works with partner organisations in Burkina Faso and across nations affected by the conflict in the central Sahel region. But, as much of the country becomes engulfed in fighting between armed groups, it makes it harder for Tearfund’s partners and other humanitarian workers to reach those most in need.
In addition, the restrictions brought in because of coronavirus mean Tearfund staff and partners are mostly having to work from home if they are able to.
In the main cities life continues pretty much as normal, but in the eastern and northern regions people are finding it much harder.
‘What is happening is disastrous,’ says Gaston Slanwa, who leads Tearfund’s work in Burkina Faso. ‘Something urgent needs to be done to save communities from the spectre of death hanging over them caused by the unprecedented insecurity and the coronavirus pandemic. We cannot be indifferent to these threats.’
We ask you to bring peace, provision and protection for Burkina Faso. May those people whose lives have become even more vulnerable know the hope that is to be found in you. And may our staff, partners and other humanitarian groups be able to support them in these difficult times.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.