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Burkina Faso: People in the north receive food aid

By International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, June 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Beginning 13 June, farmers and herders in Oudalan province, in the north of Burkina Faso, will be receiving food aid provided by the Burkinabé Red Cross Society with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

By 16 June, some 9,000 needy people will benefit from enhanced food security, which should see them through until the next harvest in October.

Since February 2012, Burkina Faso has been dealing with the consequences of the crisis in Mali by taking in almost 50,000 refugees. The influx has strained an economic situation that was already difficult for the resident population. Surveys carried out in connection with previous rounds of assistance – for 16,200 refugees in March 2012 and 1,800 refugees in January 2013 – laid bare the general impoverishment of households and pinpointed needs.

"The inhabitants of this remote part of the Sahel have accommodated thousands of refugees from Mali, and have been sharing their meagre resources with them. Because the refugees brought their livestock with them, their arrival tripled the number of animals using already inadequate grazing resources," said Romain Kima, in charge of disaster preparedness and response at the Burkinabé Red Cross. "Farming has been disrupted and host communities have sometimes had to sell some of their livestock in order to make ends meet."

Like Hadiza W. Mohamed, a widow and mother of three living in the village of Gandafabou, each family will be given 50 kg of millet, 10 kg of beans, 5 litres of cooking oil and 1 kg of salt. The food aid should also help ease tensions between the local population and the refugees.

Because this year's harvest in Burkina Faso went relatively well, all of the food aid provided could be purchased in Ouagadougou markets and then transported to Oudalan province.