Machetes, guns, smoke from burning houses: These are the last memories many displaced people carry with them after being forced to flee their villages in the Centre-Nord region of Burkina Faso. “I was in the bush, this is where they caught me,” says 17-year-old Dicko. “They wanted to know where my friends were hiding. But I was just by myself.” Armed men attacked him with a machete, wounding his ear and head and knocking him down. “Once they went away, I ran to the village to find my parents. Our house was burnt! But fortunately, we were together with my family. We walked until we reach the camp here, in Barsalogho.”
After violence erupted in Burkina Faso’s Centre-Nord and Sahel regions in early 2019, thousands of people had no choice but to flee their homes, leaving their belongings behind. They sought shelter in the nearby villages of Foubé, Barsalogho, Arbinda, Kelbo, and Déou. The hastily erected camp for displaced people in Barsalogho now hosts more than 900 people—Dicko and his family among them. After they fled, Dicko’s mother cleaned his wounds with warm water. Once the family arrived in the camp, a medical team supported by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cleaned the wounds with antiseptic solutions to stave off infection.