Living conditions in Burkina Faso worsen

A Doctors Without Borders team distributes household items to displaced residents A Doctors Without Borders team distributes household items to displaced residents Noelie Sawadogo/MSF (2020)

20 July 2020

Displaced residents in Burkina Faso’s Center-North region face difficulties as their living conditions deteriorate

Nabonswendé lives in the town of Pissila after having been displaced from his village due to growing insecurity and violence in Burkina Faso’s Center-North region. In the foreign area he resides in, makeshift tents and shelters crowd the already cramped space. Aside from the absence of a spacious living area, Nabonswendé tries to fight off the rain. Since the rainy season began, he and other families living in Pissila hope the rain will not flood their tents and shelters soaking their pillows, blankets, and the beds they sleep in.

Moreover, the stagnant rainwater raises the risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera and acute watery diarrhea. Children are vulnerable to such diseases and once they catch them, families need access to medical services - if there are any and if they can afford them after having lost their jobs and livelihoods. “When our children get sick it is necessary to take them to the hospital, even if we risk going into debt,” says Nabonswendé to Doctors Without Borders.

According to the United Nations, at least 2.2 million people in Burkina Faso require assistance and more than 921,000 have been displaced from their homes. There’s an urgent need for clean water, food, shelter, and health care services in the Center-North region, and the lack of the basic essentials takes a toll on the residents’ well-being and safety. Doctors Without Borders and its medical team have visited the most affected areas in Burkina Faso to offer basic health services and mobile clinics for people living in remote areas.

According to Hassan Maïyaki, Doctors Without Borders’s Chief of Mission in Burkina Faso, the organization has already distributed essential items to households, but admitted that they are not yet enough in ensuring their health safety. “To be able to guarantee the well-being and health of these people, they need better living conditions, including adequate shelters and a clean environment with functioning latrines, especially during the rainy season,” says Maïyaki.

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Author: Matthew Burgos

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