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CrisisInSight Weekly Picks, 7 July 2021

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The DPRK is 1.1 million tonnes short of cereals, soybeans, and potatoes. Severely strict COVID-19 containment measures, including an 80% reduction in border trade with major trade partner China, further limited food and NFI availability in the country, resulting in a lack of basic items, food shortages, and increased prices. COVID-19 restrictions are causing higher operational constraints to humanitarian responders, whose staff is also experiencing shortages of food and medicines. Kim Jong-un has formally acknowledged that the country is facing economic hardship and food shortages. Although DPRK's commercial food imports are planned at 205,000 tonnes, the estimated food gap would still be as high as at least 860,000 tonnes (over two months of food use). A harsh lean period is expected from August to October if this food gap is not covered by commercial imports and humanitarian assistance. There still is no indication of the Government easing border trade restrictions.

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Burkina Faso

On 7 June, armed groups gave the populations of Madjoari in the eastern region an ultimatum to leave the commune. Seven villages out of eight have been emptied of their inhabitants. Around 1,000 people out of 14,000 are still in the commune according to local authorities. Access points are controlled by armed groups, who also established an embargo. As a result, shops and pharmacies are almost empty. Those who stayed in the commune are experiencing shortages of essential goods and a significant increase in prices of available items. Local sources report that a litre of gasoline costs nearly five times the usual price, and a litre of cooking oil costs nearly four times. People who managed to leave fled to surrounding communes (Koalou, Nadiagou, and Pama) or to Benin (Porga), where around 1,000 newly displaced people are reported. The displaced need food and shelter assistance.

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Since the end of June, the humanitarian access situation in Tigray has worsened. As at 6 July, roads and air travel into the region were largely blocked. Road access into Tigray is only available for staff rotation, not for transport of humanitarian or commercial supplies. Two main bridges over the Tekeze River have been destroyed, hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid to people in need. Humanitarian operations are limited by electricity and internet outages, looting and destruction of telecommunications infrastructure, and severe shortages of cash and fuel across Tigray. In recent weeks, insecurity has been an issue as aid workers have been targeted and denied movement. On 25 June, three MSF-Spain staff were killed. The pre-existing needs of people in Tigray, including urgent food assistance, health, WASH, and protection, have likely worsened with new restrictions. OCHA estimates that over 400,000 people are experiencing famine.

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