OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO, 13 October 2009 - Regional Director Gianfranco Rotigliano visited Burkina Faso from 11 to 14 October to renew UNICEF’s commitment to the people affected by the floods in September and to assess progress in the emergency response.
Mr. Rotigliano visited the displacement sites, which have been reorganized by the Government in order to vacate and re-open schools for the start of the school year on 1 October. During these unprecedented rain falls, ten people lost their lives, more than 150,000 people were affected, among them some 60,000 children and 45,000 women. Many have lost their homes and possessions.
“There are at least 50,000 people living in temporary shelters throughout the capital city Ouagadougou”, said Gianfranco. “They lost everything in the floods”. Mr. Rotigliano also held meetings with the Prime Minister and other Cabinet members of the Government of Burkina Faso and with some major partners. “It is vital that these families be re-housed quickly in order to secure their wellbeing”, stressed the Regional Director of UNICEF.
As part of the UN coordinated response, UNICEF’s emergency response addresses the most critical life-saving needs of children and women. This includes the delivery of items like tents, as well as medical equipment and supplies to help reduce the rates of child illnesses and maternal mortality among the displaced people.
UNICEF has also provided support for measles and tetanus vaccination to children and women, and continues to distribute therapeutic feeding, vitamin A and deworming tablets to children. Hygiene kits, water purification tablets, disinfectant products, and tents have been distributed to medical teams and temporary schools.
Teams from youth networks, partners of UNICEF, have conducted information, education and communication activities in the displacement sites to raise awareness on the use of mosquito nets, oral rehydration salts, clean drinking water, and the prevention of waterborne disease and HIV/AIDS.
UNICEF is also supporting an ambitious “back to school program” within which temporary school rooms have been set up – but more are needed. Some 139 damaged schools will be repaired and equipped. School furniture for about 30,000 children and 500 teachers will be provided to cover the needs of those affected, including those accommodated in families' and friends' homes. Training sessions for 250 teachers in psycho-social support are being organized. The total contribution so far amounts to $1.2 million.
The recent floods have exacerbated the situation of children already vulnerable in Ouagadougou and other urban areas due to the food crisis and the global financial crisis in the last two years.
UNICEF Burkina Faso seeks $4.6million in emergency funds to continue with the immediate response, and to contribute to the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase especially in the areas of education, health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene and child protection.