GENEVA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Burkina Faso is facing a humanitarian emergency with astounding rate of displacement due to a rise in insecurity in parts of the Sahel, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday.
The displacement in Burkina Faso, with a population of 19 million, has increased five-fold this year from December 2018, said WFP spokesperson Herve Verhoosel, here at a UN briefing.
Nearly 240,000 people have fled their homes this year. WFP plans to provide emergency assistance to almost 700,000 people in the West African country, Verhoosel said, citing official statistics.
"This is a real concern for food security, especially during the lean season between June and September - when food is most scarce before the next harvest," said Verhoosel.
The WFP said that almost 688,000 people were estimated to be food insecure in Burkina Faso during the June to September lean season.
The insecurity has also led to the closure of health centers and of schools, affecting nearly 330,000 children.
Verhoosel said that this week the WFP Executive Director David Beasley visited Burkina Faso, where he met with authorities including President Roch Marc Kabore, the prime minister, and several ministers, and paid a visit to the center of the country's north.
Beasley discussed the need to work for enhanced access to reach the most vulnerable and assist those displaced.
"He called for further investment by the international community in Burkina Faso and the Sahel, to shore up livelihoods, restore ecosystems, create jobs, build social cohesion, and support governments to achieve sustainable development," said Verhoosel.