Ouagadougou — A donation of € 4.2 million from the European Union (EU) contributed to WFP's efforts to stave off a hunger catastrophe in Burkina Faso, where 2 million people are struggling to feed themselves due to the combined effects of conflict, climate shocks and the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The EU's contribution, made through the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO), has helped WFP ramp up its emergency response in 2020 to reach over 1.2 million people across the country with life-saving assistance.
"The EU's humanitarian aid has been funding emergency food assistance in Burkina Faso since 2014, helping provide food assistance to both displaced and host communities," said Delphine Buyse, who heads the EU's Humanitarian Aid office in Ouagadougou. "Thanks to partners like the World Food Programme, we can support vulnerable populations throughout the year, and particularly during the lean season between harvest."
Over one million people, having fled violence, are internally displaced and live in precarious conditions. Most of those forced to flee are subsistence farmers and livestock herders who have had to abandon their farms, homes, assets and livelihoods.
"Food insecurity reached unprecedented levels in this country and we are grateful that partners like the European Union stepped up to help save lives," said Antoine Renard, WFP Country Director and Representative in Burkina Faso. "We were able to support people despite the volatile security situation, but the hunger situation is still precarious, and we must sustain such critical assistance."
Support from the EU enabled WFP to provide timely food assistance to vulnerable communities during this year's lean season - the period between June and August when food stocks are at their lowest while families await the next harvest.
"The white sorghum that we harvested last year ran out within four months," said Awa Ganame, a 27-year-old mother of five in Oula commune. "We had nothing left and could not even eat twice in a day. The food assistance we received gave us energy to plant crops, hoping that the harvest is better this year."
The contribution from the EU also allowed WFP to launch the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in Burkina Faso. UNHAS provides a crucial flight service to all humanitarian and development actors by facilitating access to hard-to-reach areas.