Food shortages and political turmoil toxic mix in Burkina

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ACT Alliance member Christian Aid dispatched a team to areas of Burkina Faso bordering on Mali and Niger in early February in part to document the humanitarian situation of those living in the drought stricken Sahel region of West Africa, where up to 12 million people face the spectre of famine within months.

As this video shot in Tinakoff, Burkina Faso shows, communities are already adopting extreme coping strategies that usually begin in May-June -- including emigrating, eating wild roots and fruits and mothers feeding children only once a day. Tinakoff's Village chief, Elmamoune Ag Fereby Baye, says it's the worst crisis that he can remember since the 1973 drought.

The political turmoil in the Ivory Coast and Libya in 2011, and fresh clashes in Mali between Tuareg rebels and soldiers, have also negatively impacted the region.

"If we don't react now, we may have a situation in April where famine is all over northern Burkina because they could not stay more than two months in the situation they have now," concludes Cristina Ruiz, Christian Aid's regional emergency manager for West Africa.