• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 937,000 People displaced [?]
  • 1,720 Fatalities reported [?]
  • 2,000,000 People in Need [?]

Special Reports




The Sahel, Centre-Nord, Nord, Est, and Boucle du Mouhoun regions have been increasingly impacted by the presence and activities of Islamist armed groups whose influence reaches from the regions bordering Mali across to the Niger border. Three groups are active: Ansarul Islam, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (French acronym JNIM) and Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP).? The armed groups are instrumentalising pre-existing tensions between farmers and herders. Rising violence in 2019 resulted in the displacement of more than 560,000 people countrywide?, with the overall number of IDPs reaching 920,000 as of May 2020.? Overall, 5.2 million people are affected by conflict and around 2.2 million are in need of assistance.? A state of emergency is in effect across 14 provinces in the country’s border regions.?

COVID-19 restrictions and rising insecurity are resulting in food insecurity.? Between January and May, 678,000 people were in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4); that number is expected to increase to 2.1 million in June-August. These figures represent a dramatic increase from totals in the comparable periods of 2019 (420,000 and 678,000 respectively).? The entire Sahel region is predicted to face Critical acute malnutrition (15-22.9% of children acutely malnourished) in April-July, and at least 372,000 children will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2020 in the Sahel, Centre-Nord, Est, Centre-Est, Nord, Boucle du Mouhoun, and Centre-Ouest regions.?

Healthcare needs are high as access to services is poor and insecurity has led to suspension of services in several health centres. 54% of health centres in Sahel region have closed and 32% are partially functional.?  Access to water is a major issue, particularly in the Sahel and Est regions.? All schools were closed on 16 March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The school year was officially ended on 27 May except for students in exam years. Insecurity caused around 2,500 schools to close, affecting close to 350,000 students prior to the national closures.?

INFORM measures Burkina Faso’s risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be high at 5.1/10. Vulnerability and coping capacity are at concerning levels, 5.8 and 6.6 respectively.?


Latest Developments


Heavy rains on 5 June caused flooding in several communes of Centre Nord region, including Kongoussi – already affected by the 19 April flooding, Pensa, and Barsalogho. Some 140,000 IDPs are hosted in the affected communes. Flooding destroyed 669 shelters and damaged another 2,900. Needs include shelter, essential household items, WASH kits, and food.?

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.


Increasing insecurity and displacement cause a deterioration of food security in the Central North, East, North, and Sahel regions Latest update: 26/03/2020


Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely


Very low Moderate Major


Conflict in Burkina Faso intensified in 2019 and an increase of attacks against civilians by armed groups and intercommunal attacks led to a surge of displacement. The number of IDPs rose from 90,000 in January 2019 to over 760,000 in mid-February 2020.? IDPs fleeing conflict-affected regions are living mainly in Central North and Sahel regions but increasingly in North region and across the eastern part of the country.?
high risk level
Insecurity and forced displacement, coupled with rain shortages in 2019 are the main drivers of growing food insecurity in Burkina Faso, contributing to reduced agricultural production and disruption of livelihoods and market activities.? Over 1.2 million people were categorised in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher and needed immediate food assistance in the October-December period, compared to 300,000 people during the same period of 2018.? Insecurity is particularly impacting agricultural production in Central North and North regions,? decreasing humanitarian access, and hampering food assistance especially in East, North, and Sahel regions. Food assistance concentrates on accessible urban centres? and on northern parts of the country where humanitarian response has been focused so far, leaving gaps in food assistance in other regions.? IDPs and impoverished host households are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity.? Rapid SMART surveys in October 2019 among hosts and IDPs in four conflict-affected regions found acute malnutrition rates for children above the alert threshold of 10% in three of six communes: 12.7% in Arbinda (Sahel region), 11.7% in Matiacoali (East region), and 11.2% in Titao (North region). The critical threshold of 15% was exceeded in Barsalogho (Central North region), both in the IDP reception site (19.7%) and the municipality (17.2%), and in Djibo (Sahel region) (16.9%).? 


Food insecurity will rise as violence persists and mass displacement continues. At the current rate, about 900,000 people will be displaced by April 2020? but there is a risk displacement will exceed planning figures. Large-scale displacement will lead to further deterioration of livelihoods and a reduction in food availability among poor households, both hosts and IDPs. IDPs will be increasingly dependent on food assistance.? Additionally, impoverished host households face increased vulnerability to food insecurity. They have limited sources of income apart from the sale of livestock and are at risk of early depletion of their crop stocks.? Overall agricultural production during the 2019/20 season is expected to decline by up to 15% compared to 2018/19? and livestock value will probably decrease, particularly impacting the livelihoods of households in conflict-affected areas in the north.? Around 1.8 million people in Burkina Faso are projected in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and above during the lean season of June-August 2020, compared to 0.7 million during the same period in 2019?. The figure includes over 80,000 people in Centre-North, East, North, and Sahel regions projected in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). Without the planned humanitarian response, 15 provinces face Emergency level.? Exponential rise in displacement combined with shrinking humanitarian access will exacerbate food insecurity.
Methodology note

This risk was initially identified in the ACAPS March 2019 Risk Report and materialised as violence and displacement resulted in a significant increase of food insecurity in Burkina Faso.? A further, significant increase in the number of food insecure people due to rapid deterioration of humanitarian conditions comprises a new risk.

Read this risk

Key Priorities


Food security is a particular concern in Nord, Centre-Nord, Est and Sahel regions. Insufficient rainfall is expected to contribute to a 6-15% drop in agricultural production for the 2019-20 season?.

Protection is a priority for populations affected by insecurity, particularly in the Sahel and Centre-Nord regions, where attacks against civilians have been increasing and where most of the displaced people live?. Some 21,000 refugees from Mali are also concentrated in those areas?.

Health services remain severely restricted. 133 health facilities have closed due to violence and 156 are partially functional – these developments leave at least 1.5 million people without access to healthcare?.


Conflict in the Sahel


In 2019 the border area shared by Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali, known as Liptako Gourma, saw a rise in intercommunal violence and jihadist activities. Across the region, security incidents were recorded on an almost daily basis, increasingly resulting in civilian casualties. Armed groups have continued to expand their frontlines while authorities struggle to contain the crisis, including widespread displacement and civil discontent.

Read the full narrative here.