New report highlights critical climate and humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso

  • Armed conflict and climate change are driving unprecedented levels of poverty, displacement and food insecurity in the Central Sahel, with a 172% increase in humanitarian need since 2016.
  • Political decisions dating from the French colonial rule through the early 2000s have marginalized areas of the region both economically and politically.
  • The region is warming at 1.5x the global average.
  • Addressing this compound crisis requires tackling immediate humanitarian needs and funding climate adaptation initiatives.
Read the full press release and report.

Country facts

  • Total Population: 20.9 million
  • People internally displaced by crisis: 1 million
  • Rank in Human Development Index: 182 of 189

IRC response

  • Started work in Burkina Faso: 2019

Crisis briefing

Burkina Faso is home to one of the fastest growing displacement crises in the world: over one million people have had to flee their homes. The IRC is providing urgent and lifesaving assistance, including clean water, sanitation services, and health care.

What caused the crisis in Burkina Faso?

Burkina Faso, located in West Africa, has seen a rise in tensions and violence since January of 2019, leading to a spike in displacement. Ethnic and religious conflicts are also increasing, along with cattle raiding and other clashes within communities. The growing violence has forced people to leave their homes, fields, farm animals and livelihoods behind.

What are the humanitarian challenges in Burkina Faso?

The crisis has left an estimated 3.5 million people in Burkina Faso in critical need of assistance.

Just two years ago, Burkina Faso faced virtually no mass conflict or displacement. Now, it is home to one of the fastest growing displacement crises in the world: over one million people have had to flee their homes. 

The escalating conflict is driving steep increases in humanitarian need and—with the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis—the risk of famine. 1.6 million are facing crisis or worse levels of food insecurity. 

Nearly 300 local health centers are closed or are restricting services due to the conflict, limiting the health care that 1.1 million people can obtain.

Attacks on schools have forced children out of classrooms. As many as 350,000 students have been affected by closures of schools.

How does the IRC help in Burkina Faso?

The IRC’s response in Burkina Faso started in Djibo, which hosts a large internally displaced population. We are delivering clean water and are bolstering sanitation services. We have also established a primary health care program, which includes reproductive health care and community-based services devoted to childhood illnesses and disease prevention.