With a Quebec woman and her boyfriend still missing in the West African country of Burkina Faso, humanitarian groups are speaking about the importance of safety there.

Edith Blais and Luca Tacchetto were preparing to do humanitarian aid in the region.

Though the couple was in what is considered a relatively safe, touristy area of Burkina Faso, Frederique Thomas from the Quebec Association of International Aid Organizations said it’s essential that those wishing to do aid work don’t try to ‘wing it’ – because there are always dangers involved in trying to work in these areas.

Thomas said anyone interested should first get hired by a well-established organization in Canada who will offer training before departure and will also determine whether someone is fit to engage in humanitarian work in potentially dangerous places.

“We travel to Mali, we do missions in Burkina Faso and Nigeria,” said Thomas, adding “not everyone can go to Mali and not everyone can go to Burkina Faso.”

Just because you think you are capable doesn’t mean you are, said Thomas.

“Every time before leaving for a mission, you have a pre-departure security briefing, and then we try to track the information and see how it has evolved within the last months and see if we have to adjust our security measures,” she said.


It is so far unclear if a wish to engage in humanitarian support led to the disappearance of Blais and Tacchetto.

The couple last posted photos to Facebook on Dec. 15 and so far there are no new developments.

Federal authorities are investigating.