Starvation attacks Burkina Faso due to increased violence in Jihadi

Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou — Martin Roamba’s 10-month-old daughter pulls her mother’s chest weakly to look for milk.

Malnourished babies have had difficulty eating since birth because their mothers haven’t eaten enough milk to produce enough milk since Zihadis began killing people from a village in northern Burkina Faso last year. doing.

In the suburbs of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, 30-year-old Roamba, sitting in a hospital bed with other severely malnourished children and their parents, is trying to calm her crying daughter.

“It’s very worrisome, and we pray to God that the baby won’t get worse in worse situations,” she said.

Hunger is skyrocketing beyond the conflict-stricken Burkina Faso. This is the result of increased violence associated with al-Qaeda and the ISIS group, killing thousands, expelling millions and hindering people’s agriculture. According to the latest food security report by the government and UN agencies, it is estimated that about 3.5 million people are food insecurity and nearly 630,000 are on the verge of hunger. This is an 82 percent increase from last year for people facing urgent hunger.

Claudin Konate, a nutrition expert at UNICEF’s United Nations Children’s Fund, said: She said the country must prepare for a growing crisis.

At Ouagadougou hospitals, the number of severely malnourished children has doubled from two years ago, and there is not enough space and staff to care for them, the hospital’s nutrition manager, Claris Nikiema. Says.

Burkina Faso malnourished child
The malnourished baby is being cared for on April 15, 2022 at the Pediatrics Department of Boulmiougou Hospital in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. (Sophie Garcia / AP Photo)

“Because they are refugees, they are so poor that they cannot support their families and their children are malnourished,” she said. Sometimes, after recovery, the family refuses to leave because they don’t want their children to be hungry in a food-free home, she said.

In January, rebellious soldiers expelled Burkina Faso’s democratically elected president, and the ruling party states that restoring security is their number one priority. However, according to the United Nations, attacks have since increased, with the February incident increasing by 11%. Experts say violence is bringing more people closer to hunger.

The situation is the most dire in the northern Sahel region, and cities like Jihadi have been besieged by Jihadi’s rebels for months until recently, limiting food aid provision. Golom Other towns like Golom have few health centers in operation. Jean Paul Ouedraogo, head of the Italian-based aid group Lay Volunteers International Association, said that only two of the 27 people in the area are fully functional.

Jihadi’s rebels are also expanding, pushing the south and west into Burkina Faso’s breadbasket, stealing crops and livestock, and chasing people to rural farms and cities.

Prices are skyrocketing due to lower supply and higher demand. According to locals, a bag of 100 kilograms of corn has almost doubled from last year to $ 30 to $ 50. Due to the war in Ukraine, aid groups are preparing for more price increases. According to the United Nations, Burkina Faso buys more than one-third of wheat from Russia, the impact of which is not yet clear, but humanitarians say it is a concern.

Gregoire Brow, Country Director of Burkina Faso’s Action Against Hunger, said: According to the United Nations, aid to the country is already underfunded, and last year’s humanitarian response plan received less than half of the $ 607 million required. Currently, the government agency is Ukraine.

On the other hand, hunger affects almost everyone in the country, including those who are trying to protect it. During a trip to the northern town of Ouahigouya, civilians who volunteered to fight with the army told the Associated Press that they were hungry and fighting jihad.

“Volunteers fight for the country, but they fight hunger,” said one volunteer who spoke on anonymous terms because he was not allowed to speak to the media. He said the lack of agriculture and the minimum volunteer payments ($ 8 per month) were not enough to make a living.

Dr. Gerald Koudougou Combasere, who works at a town hospital, said malnourished people had arrived at the health center in Ouahigouya in serious condition and were taking a long time to recover. Refugees are the most affected, among which malnutrition rates are rising, he said. At a temporary camp in Ouahigouya, where about 2,300 people are seeking evacuation, residents have told AP that they have received food aid only once in the last 10 months.

At one shelter, Saramata Nakanabo said she ate five times a day when her family lived in the village, but now she eats only once. Mimicking the gunshot, a 31-year-old woman tells the day when Jihad attacked the village, killed eight people, confiscated everything she owned, and fled her family.

“They all stole cows, food and took my goats,” she said. “Now it’s very difficult to take care of children.”

Sam Mednick

Associated Press