Burkina Faso: Communities and Authorities Participate in a Simulation Exercise for Humanitarian Crisis Response

Return of pirogues who went to rescue displaced people. Photo Credit: IOM/Burkina Faso

Ms Aissatou Guissé Kaspar, IOM Chief of Mission in Burkina Faso, in discussion with women in the village of Tengrela. Photo Credit: IOM/Burkina Faso

Police officers interact with an IDP during SIMEX. Photo Credit: IOM/Burkina Faso

Tengrela – The Ministry of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Security of Burkina Faso, with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), conducted a border crisis management simulation exercise (SIMEX) on Thursday, 11 May 2023, with a view to testing the management and coordination mechanisms for responding effectively to potential crises in the Cascades Region.

In a bid to strengthen the region’s emergency response and humanitarian assistance mechanisms, the authorities, with IOM’s support, have been working closely together for a long time, resulting in the establishment of a regional contingency plan for the preparation, harmonization, and coordination of responses to crises entailing massive population displacement.

To follow up on the adoption of this plan as well as that of the Regional Contingency Plan (ORSEC), it seemed necessary to conduct a full-scale SIMEX to prepare actors for humanitarian crisis prevention and management. “We started with a pure imagination and ended up taking charge of an almost real emergency. We must be proud of the fact that the Cascades Region has a coordinated response that facilitates humanitarian crisis management,” said Mr Jean Charles Somé, Governor of the Cascades Region.

The exercise brought together more than 700 participants, including the Burkinabe authorities on site and local communities, all of whom were involved in managing this large-scale crisis. The SIMEX operation highlighted the resilience of the population of Tengrela and interdepartmental coordination at all levels required to deal with situations of this scale. Following the warning, all technical structures were mobilized under the coordination of the Regional Council for Emergency Response and Rehabilitation chaired by the Governor of the Region.

According to Mr Abdoulaye Bamogo, spokesperson for the SIMEX evaluation team and observers, “Community commitment to receiving and assisting arrivals, as well as the effectiveness of the warning system, show that there is the necessary capacity at local level to mount a coordinated and effective response to better deal with humanitarian and security crises”.

The various review committees agreed on the need to build technical structures’ operational capacities, strengthen interdepartmental coordination, and harmonize texts on crisis prevention and management, among other recommendations.

Ms Aïssatou Guissé Kaspar, IOM Chief of Mission in Burkina Faso, stated that she took note of the recommendations made and reiterated IOM’s and its partners’ readiness to consider various possibilities to support the process.

This activity was supported by the project: “Promoting coordination and cooperation between border communities and border management authorities in Burkina Faso and Niger” funded by the U.S. Department of State.

For more information, please contact: Idelki Familia, IOM Integrated Border Governance Programme Coordinator in Burkina Fas, an Abdoulaye SOUKOUNA, IOM RO Dakar Communication Officer,

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