David Carden, OCHA Deputy Director for West and Central Africa, completes a three-day mission to Burundi
From 16 to 19 February 2020, OCHA’s Deputy Director for West and Central Africa, David Carden, carried out a three-day mission to the Republic to assess the ongoing humanitarian response and discuss how to strengthen resilience-building efforts with key stakeholders including Government representatives.
On 19 February, Mr. Carden visited Gatumba district in Bujumbura Rural province, which currently hosts nearly 10,000 people displaced by torrential rains that fell on 28-29 January 2020. He also visited the relocation site of Winterekwa, in Bujumbura Mairie Province, where hundreds of internally displaced persons are being sheltered from floods and landslides due to unseasonal rains. Natural disasters account for 79 per cent of internal displacement, and the last five months have been hard-hit with unusually heavy rainfall and strong winds, causing severe flooding and landslides. He witnessed how humanitarian partners are working with extremely limited resources to provide humanitarian assistance and protection services to the most vulnerable.
During his visit, Mr. Carden met with representatives of international non-governmental organizations, the Humanitarian Country Team, donors as well as the OCHA Burundi team. He also met the National Platform for Risk Prevention and Disaster Management, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender. Mr. Carden highlighted the humanitarian community’s commitment to continue to work with the Government of Burundi in the spirit of mutual trust and respect to reduce humanitarian needs, and the importance of collaborating together to facilitate principled humanitarian action.
Government officials expressed their willingness to continue working together with the humanitarian community to meet the needs of the affected communities. Mr. Carden commended the Government for its commitment to support those in need and for its efforts in improving the resilience of vulnerable communities. He also promised that he would advocate for further humanitarian funding for Burundi, in particular for replenishing emergency stocks to allow partners to respond rapidly to different disasters.
“Humanitarian partners’ capacity to respond given the lack of emergency stocks is concerning. They need donors’ support now to ensure an adequate response capacity to address humanitarian needs in the coming months” he said.