Torrential rains cause devastation in Burundi
Over the last five months, Burundi has experienced heavy rainfall, flooding, violent winds, and even hailstorms. Since September 2019, nearly 23,000 people have been affected by these disasters, of whom 9,142 have been displaced. In addition, 50 people lost their lives. December 2019 and January 2020 have been the hardest-hit months – accounting for over 16,300 of the people affected, and over 7,000 displaced people*. This is unusual as January marks the beginning of the short rainy season.
Homes and livelihoods have been devastated; crops have been destroyed, and cattle have perished. Multisectoral evaluations were conducted as rapidly as possible, in coordination with the Government of Burundi’s National Platform accompanied by Red Cross, IOM, along with other partners. In Bujumbura Mairie province, the communes of Winterekwa, Buterere, Kinama, and Mubone were particularly affected. Up to 275 houses have been destroyed and close to 1,900 houses have been flooded.
Within these communes, 359 households received support from the Shelter/Non-food items sector – they were temporarily sheltered at Ecofo Buterere for 3 months at a rate of 30,000 BIF/month. The food security sector distributed one month’s food rations to 3,270 people and the Ministry of Public Health and the Fight Against AIDS gave free access to healthcare to displaced people for those areas.
However, important gaps remain; at least 100 households remain without shelter and 748 households in Mubone and Buterere urgently need NFI kits while a further 389 households will need shelter support for the next 3 months. The humanitarian community’s efforts are hampered by the lack of emergency stocks.
With heavy rainfall forecast in the next few months, it is crucial that emergency response capacities are strengthened. There are concerns on the impact of the rains on the agricultural season A.
Further efforts are needed to ensure more effective sanitation measures (such as sewer maintenance) and to improve land use so that it complies with urban planning and environmental standards (such as river buffer zones).
*For further information please refer to DTM IOM: https://displacement.iom.int/burundi