For Immediate Release

Office of Press Relations

Statement by Administrator Samantha Power

Growing conflict and a dire humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso is unfolding in communities cut off from the world’s view. 

Human Rights Watch recently documented horrific first-hand accounts that the Burkinabe military forces executed at least 223 civilians – including more than 50 children – in a single day in villages in Yatenga province in February. The government is banning news organizations, including VOA and BBC, as well as independent websites – further compounding the risk that horrors like these unfold with no accountability or attention. 

Widespread violence and attacks on civilians and critical infrastructure have driven mass displacement and disrupted essential services, leaving approximately 6.3 million Burkinabe – nearly a third of the country’s population – in need of urgent aid this year. More than two million people are reported to be displaced within the country, though the true number of people forced to flee is likely much higher. 

Innocent civilians are surrounded by armed groups, cut off from aid by fighting and intentional impediments, and suffering from severe hunger. At least one million people in as many as 40 blockaded communities are reachable only by humanitarian helicopter airlifts or armed military convoys, and nearly three million people are projected to face levels of food insecurity requiring immediate humanitarian assistance in the coming months. 

To respond to these rising humanitarian needs, today I am announcing that the United States, through USAID, is providing nearly $55 million in additional, urgent humanitarian assistance to continue addressing emergency food and nutrition needs of the most vulnerable, as well as support to expand the reach of humanitarian action. This funding, which will be provided to impacted communities through trusted international and UN partners, brings USAID’s total emergency assistance to the people of Burkina Faso to nearly $158 million since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2023. 

Given the scale and complexity of the crisis, we call on other donors to join us in increasing their support for this overlooked and underfunded humanitarian response.

Even with additional support, reaching vulnerable Burkinabe civilians with life-saving aid remains challenging. Aid groups must be able to reach people in need, particularly in blockaded communities. Safe, sustained, and unhindered humanitarian access is vital for aid workers to deliver this assistance and for civilians to receive it. 

We call on all parties, including the Transition Authorities, Burkinabe military, and armed groups, to protect civilians and enable the free flow of humanitarian aid to prevent this devastating situation from getting worse. 

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