WFP condemns attack on its humanitarian helicopter in Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) strongly condemns an attack on one of its helicopters that was transporting life-saving food assistance to the most vulnerable women, men, and children in the besieged town of Djibo in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso.

The 10 August 2023 attack targeted a heavy Mi-26 helicopter shortly after take-off from Ouahigouya in the Nord region destined for besieged areas across the Sahel region where thousands of families have been cut off from access for months.

Thankfully, all passengers and crew members on board were uninjured.

WFP calls on all groups and parties to the conflict to guarantee the safety and security of humanitarian activities, aid workers and assets – in line with International Humanitarian Law. Humanitarian activities, personnel, and assets must never be a target.

“Such attacks challenge WFP’s work on the ground by disrupting lifesaving food assistance while increasing our operational costs and stretching our humanitarian dollar to the limit”, said Elvira Pruscini, WFP’s Country Representative and Director in Burkina Faso. “WFP remains committed to reaching the most vulnerable communities with life-saving assistance no matter the cost. We simply cannot afford to interrupt our response which remains a critical lifeline to those in dire need.”

In conflict-affected regions of Burkina Faso, 43,000 people are currently facing catastrophic levels of hunger (IPC phase 5) during the June-September lean season. WFP’s airlift operations are the only option and a last resort for humanitarian assistance to reach those most in need living in besieged areas.

Burkina Faso is in the midst of a major food security and nutrition crisis; 3.4 million people – 15% of the population – currently face acute hunger. WFP is committed to reaching 2.8 million of the most vulnerable people with lifesaving and life-changing assistance in 2023 – but must be able to reach cut-off communities safely.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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For more information please contact (email address:

Djaounsede Madjiangar, WFP/Dakar, Mob. +221 77 639 42 71

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