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A concerning nutritional situation in areas most affected by insecurity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burkina Faso
  • December 2019
A concerning nutritional situation in areas most affected by insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through May 2020
  • Key Messages
    • The deterioration of livelihoods due to insecurity and the deterioration of food consumption and nutritional status (with prevalence above the alert threshold) are exposing internally displaced persons (IDPs) and poor host households in Soum, Loroum, Oudalan, Sanmatenga and Bam provinces to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). There is risk of this extending to Séno, Yagha, Gnagna and Komondjari provinces between April and May 2020.

    • At present, planned food assistance in these areas is concentrated in more accessible urban centers and is not regular due to now-daily attacks and threats by armed groups, with an average of 50 incidents per month. 

    • In the more accessible areas of the country, poor households are living off their harvests and are expected to experience a normal lean season from June 2020 due to similar or above-average production and affordable staple food prices. These areas continue to be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    • A worrying security situation in eight of the 13 regions, with at least 555 incidents recorded since the beginning of the year.

    • Starting with an increasing flow of estimated IDPs, with 560,000 as at 9 December 2019 (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA), an increase of 15 percent compared to 8 October. 

    • With an average of 50 security incidents per month, acts of violence and threats by armed groups could continue to spread throughout the country.
    • The number of IDPs is likely to increase in the coming months, given the rise in and spread of violence. 
    Livelihood zones 8, 7, 5 and 9
    • The disruption of agricultural activities, the end-of-season rainfall deficits and abandoned harvests as a result of attacks and threats have led to a 20 to 70 percent drop in production in several communes – the most affected being closest to the borders with Niger and Mali.

    • The closure or malfunctioning of health services and the inadequate provision of food assistance are fostering a prevalence of acute malnutrition above the alert threshold in communes and settlements with a high number of IDPs.

    • IDPs are dependent on assistance and markets, and host household stocks could be depleted early, from February 2020.

    • Loss of assets and continued insecurity would limit the income of poor host households and IDPs and reduce their access to food. Malnutrition, which is already highly prevalent, could then increase.


    Projected Outlook Through May 2020


    At the national level

    In the areas least affected by insecurity, the growing season was favorable and the harvests that are drawing to a close could be above the five-year average. These harvests are the main source of food and also of income through the sale of cash crops (cotton, groundnuts, sesame, cowpea).

    On the markets, weak external flows, reduced internal flows to regions in the north that are usually buyers and traders’ larger stocks reports are responsible for lower prices.   Staple cereals have dropped by around 20 percent compared with both last year and the five-year average.

    Cash crop production and sales will continue as usual to generate income for households. However, these incomes are expected to remain below average because of localized declines in production due to late rains and average groundnuts and sesame prices and declining cowpea prices.

    IDPs in these areas could compete with host populations for goldmining jobs and agricultural labor for field preparation between February and May. The lean season will remain typical and the usual availability of fruit and other non-wood forest products will ensure Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity until May 2020.

    Livelihood zones 8, 7, 5 and 9

    In addition to the Government’s introduction of curfews in several provinces, population movements are generally limited due to the almost daily violence and threats from armed groups. Since the beginning of the year, 85 percent of the incidents recorded and 93 percent of the fatalities recorded have occurred in regions within these livelihood zones (Sahel, Nord, Centre-Nord, Est).  The intensification of attacks and threats has resulted in a second wave of population displacement and flows to new areas. In mid-November, following violence against civilians, displaced persons and host households from Gasseliki (Arbinda commune) joined the settlement and village of Foubé (Barsalogho commune).  The resurgence of violence and threats in the eastern part of the country is also prompting IDPs to move to the communes of Gayéri and Fada.

    In these livelihood zones, the insecurity that disrupted agricultural activities and the adverse effects of the longer dry spells in September has led to declines in agricultural production of around 20 to 70 percent in some 60 communes. The province of Soum and surrounding communes are most affected by this decline. Consequently, the lean season is expected to arrive early (from February 2020) in most communes.

    In addition, limited access to usual pasture areas (Nassoumbou, Déou, Oursi) and accelerated pasture degradation in host areas (exacerbated by pockets of drought) will lead to a longer pastoral lean season from February to June, until new pasture growth in July 2020.

    Due to limited access to goldmining sites, host households and IDPs are returning to accessible market gardening sites. This is increasing the pressure on and competition for labor in areas such as Ouahigouya, Titao (Nord Region), Bam, Bourzanga, Tougouri, Yalgo, Mané and Korsimoro (Centre-Nord Region). Between December 2019 and April 2020, these activities could be a source of income for IDPs and host households. However, the inaccessibility of certain areas for traveling purchasers could lead to a slump in production.

    Local cereal and livestock markets are not functional or are functioning at a slower pace, as they are not visited by suppliers and purchasers, and are seldom visited by low-income households. The markets of the provincial capitals are the main trading centers where IDPs sell their animals. Although staple food prices are down by less than 10 percent in the markets of Djibo, Dori, Gorom and Titao, they remain above average in the less accessible markets of Arbinda (20 percent) and Oursi (30 percent). The livestock market in Djibo (where IDPs comprise more than 99 percent of the population) is the only functional market in the province and surrounding area. As a result, the supply of goats has increased by 8 percent. In contrast, the supply of cattle has decreased by 10 percent, due to the migration of pastoralists with their animals. Domestic and foreign buyers still visit the market, which is helping stabilize prices compared with the five-year average.

    Ongoing food assistance in the form of food (75 percent) and cash (25 percent) for IDPs and hosts is mostly distributed in more accessible urban areas. In provinces other than Soum and Sanmatenga, where assistance is expected to reach 26 percent and 29 percent of the population respectively, coverage is low and is not usually issued on time due to frequent security incidents.

    As a result, inadequate nutrition, coupled with limited access to health care (due to closed or dysfunctional health centers), has led to a deterioration in the nutritional status of women and children in areas with large IDP populations. The results of the rapid Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) survey (MS/World Food Program [WFP], United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF]) recently conducted for host households and IDPs in November show that (excluding Kaya commune) the prevalence of acute malnutrition among children aged 6–59 months is above 10 percent, with the situation at emergency levels in the communes of Barsalogho (17.2 percent) and Djibo (16.9 percent). Prevalence exceeding the 10 percent alert threshold has been observed among pregnant and breastfeeding women in the communes of Matiacoali and Kaya, as well as at the Barsalogho host site. Overall, the situation is most concerning among IDPs.

    In summary, limited access to income and the lack of regular assistance are contributing to the deterioration of food consumption and livelihoods, in particular for IDPs and host populations. With a nutritional situation exceeding the crisis thresholds, these population groups in the provinces of Soum, Loroum, Oudalan, Sanmatenga and Bam face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse between December and March. This situation could continue until May, alongside the deteriorating security situation. Between April and May, IDPs and poor host households in the provinces of Séno, Yagha, Gnagna and Komondjari will also experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3), due to their depleted stocks.

    Figures Graph of the evolution of security incidents and fatalities since January 2019: Events have increased between July and Octobe

    Figure 1

    Source: ACLED data

    Burkina Faso Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year  Mid-May to mid-October is the rainy season. September to January is the ma

    Figure 3


    Source: FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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