Burkina Faso: The World’s Most Neglected Crisis

Burkina Faso: The World's Most Neglected Crisis Burkina Faso: The World's Most Neglected Crisis

Burkina Faso is in the midst of a crisis that is being described as the world’s most neglected. In the shadow of more globally visible conflicts such as Ukraine, the displacement, insecurity, and lack of assistance in Burkina Faso have been inadequate and ignored.

The crisis began five years ago, and militias have been attacking water sources and forcing school closures, which has resulted in them controlling around 40% of the country’s territory.  Without access to basic services, 800,000 of these people are in urgent need of help. People living in Djibo have resorted to eating wild leaves due to lack of food.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) report states that media coverage and funding to Ukraine is five times more than for the 10 most crucial displacement crises. The international system has failed to respond to emerging crises, which has caused despair to become entrenched in Burkina Faso.

The Humanitarian Response Plan for 2020 was only 18% funded of the $882m requested. Jan Egeland, NRC’s secretary general made a plea for more to be done, “We must do more to end the suffering in Burkina Faso before despair becomes entrenched and it is added to the growing list of protracted crises.”

What must be done now is for the international community to dedicate more attention and assistance to this crisis. There has been some response from African regional states, non government organisations, and aid from western countries, but it has not been enough to fully address the scale of the problem.

With the right resources and support, people of Burkina Faso could receive the help they desperately need. Funds are needed to provide life-saving assistance, food, water, and medical treatment for those affected by the crisis, as well as to help internally displaced people relocate safely.

Burkina Faso: The World's Most Neglected Crisis

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been among the top of the list of neglected crisis spots since the list was launched seven years ago. Displacement has been on the rise since the resurgence of the M23 rebels, backed by Rwanda. However, the Congo received less than half of what it asked for last year. Due to the conflict with Ukraine, resources were redirected towards that region, leaving the Congo struggling to receive the aid they needed.

The Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, spoke out on this concerning development, citing the disparity in attention between the DRC and the conflict with Ukraine. Although the response to the Ukrainian crisis has been prompt and generous, a disconnect still exists between political interests and basic needs. The fight against the shortage of essential resources in the Congo needs attention from both governments and the public, as millions of people remain in distress.

Raising funds for the Congo is not only a band-aid approach. Alongside with donations, there should be an effort to implement systemic changes that would better generate the necessary resources for everyone in the region. These could involve more investment in education, healthcare and the protection of girls and women in particular. Crucial to this process, in order to make sure the relief activities are sustainable, would be to finance projects and programs that are run by citizens from the Congo.

Recent developments, from the World Bank Group as well as multinational corporations, have contributed to the start of this process. An example of this is the African Risk Capacity, an agency founded in 2012 to help African countries protect their citizens from extreme weather events.

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