ShelterBox helping thousands of people displaced by conflict in Burkina Faso

Almost two million people have been forced to flee their homes and now have nowhere to live.

19 August 2022

Press release - 19 August 2022


ShelterBox has expressed its ‘grave concern’ as the number of people displaced by the ongoing conflict in Burkina Faso nears two million.

Since 2020, Jihadist groups have been fighting one another over control for territory driving displacement in a country where many people had already been forced to leave their homes because of increasing and spreading violence. Whole communities have had to leave their homes to avoid getting caught in cross-fighting following attacks on schools, health centres, and military patrols.

In the last two years ShelterBox has helped more than 10,000 people made homeless by the conflict. The charity’s latest project in the country is focused on constructing new emergency shelters to support a thousand newly displaced families left homeless by the conflict. ShelterBox is working with its partner Help Hilfe zur Selbsthilf to distribute emergency shelters, known as Sahelian tents, and distribute household items.

ShelterBox’s Programme Manager for Burkina Faso, Aaron Watts-Jones says: “The number of people who have been forced to flee their homes is staggering – it’s the equivalent to more than three times the population of Cornwall being uprooted.

“It’s a grave concern when whole families and communities have nowhere to live because they are having to leave their homes and livelihoods behind to seek safety, food, and water.

“While there is little humanitarian organisations like ShelterBox can do to resolve the conflict, we can raise the profile of what’s happening, the voices of those affected, and make the most of the funds we have to help those in need.

“At ShelterBox, we’ve already helped thousands of people affected by the conflict and our work in the country is ongoing to help those made homeless.”

As well as the Sahelian tents currently being distributed, since 2020, the charity has distributed tarpaulins, sleeping mats, water carriers, mosquito nets, and solar lights to affected families.

69-year-old Yabre is one of the thousands of people who fled, leaving everything he owned behind. He is now living with his family in a camp for men, women, and children who
have become displaced by the violence and have nowhere else to go. The camp is where ShelterBox – in partnership with Help – supported 600 families with tarpaulins, kitchen sets, mosquito nets and other household items.

He said: “We didn’t know that what was happening in other countries could happen to us too.  We lived peacefully and had no problems living together. I am a farmer and a herder, we all worked together without any problems. Our life has completely changed now. We no longer have land for farming, and we are embarrassed to sit idle while it rains. We are entirely dependent on donations from humanitarians.”

Not long after Yabre and his family arrived at the camp, a huge storm across the country led to severe flooding in many of the displacement camps, including the one they were in. This resulted in their shelter being damaged.

He added: “I received three tarpaulins from ShelterBox. These were used to rebuild the shelter which is in good condition now.

“The attacks are continuing, so we are determined to stay here a while longer.”

To better meet the needs of displaced people, ShelterBox is continuously evolving to find more robust solutions. It no longer provides aid only in boxes, instead providing combinations of aid that are locally appropriate and packaged in a variety of ways to make a tangible difference

The Sahelian tents being distributed as part of the charity’s latest project in Burkina Faso are culturally appropriate for the Sahel region in West Africa and are constructed from locally sourced materials. They offer a more durable structure for displaced families who have fled their homes to escape extremist violence.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential items to people across the world who have lost their homes to conflict and disaster. The charity is currently working to support people in Ukraine, the Philippines, Yemen, Syria, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. ShelterBox also has an assessment team in Bangladesh following some of the worst flash flooding to hit the country.

ShelterBox has helped more than two million people across 98 countries and relies heavily on public donations to fund its responses across the world.

For more information about ShelterBox visit shelterbox.org.

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