ACT Burundi Preparedness Appeal No. AFBI61


Following the temporary suspension of activities by the ICRC after the deaths of three of their delegates, the entire delegation of the ICRC pulled out of Burundi on 11 June after receiving threats the preceding week. The ICRC program targeted 500,000 displaced people with essential non-food items and included activities in health, water/sanitation and prison monitoring. The cessation of their operations in Burundi will therefore seriously affect the relief effort in the country. It is not known if and when the ICRC will return to the country.

International NGOs suspended or reduced activities in the country for a period of one week in solidarity with the slain ICRC delegates. Following assessments by many of these agencies, most of their operations were reinstated. However, as the situation remains so tense and fragile, the future commitments by some NGOs are under review and they will be closely monitoring the situation and could, in a worse case scenario, cease activities. In this case, the churches may well be among the few agencies left in Burundi providing relief aid. Therefore, it is vital for ACT/Christian Aid to increase the contingency stocks of emergency relief items.

The Humanitarian Coordinator called a meeting with NGOs on 14 June to discuss the present security situation and to see whether any NGOs could take over the ICRC activities. However, no NGOs were able to take on this additional responsibility. The WFP Assistant Executive Director visited the sub-region 11-15 June and met with humanitarian organizations in Kigali, Bujumbura, Bukavu and Ngozi to evaluate current operations and future plans.

The security situation continues to deteriorate with various incidents occuring throughout the country. A grenade exploded at an IFRC distribution site in Rukuramigabo camp which resulted in 68 wounded. The IFRC were carrying out food distribution at the time of the explosion. The Bujumbura offices of the IFRC and MSF/Holland were both attacked on 20 June. On 13 June between 70 and 100 civilians were reported to have been killed in Rutegama. Kabezi commune of Bujumbura Rural has been the site of a series of attacks since early June (approximately 50 people were killed on 12 June alone). Italian volunteers, nuns and priests working in the parish of Mutoyi in Ruyigi Province were evacuated on 16 June following attacks and threats to their lives. The office of Action Contre la Faim was looted in Ngozi following the second attack in ten days - ACF have temporarily suspended its activities in this province, although they are still active in other parts of the country. Whilst the security situation deteriorates, efforts have been made on the political front to dialogue - this has been particularly evident with the initiatives of Ex-Tanzania President Nyerere. Following the seven nation summit held in Arusha which was attended by the heads of state from Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia (with the participation of a senior minister from Zaire), the President and Prime Minister of Burundi have issued a joint statement calling for "foreign technical assistance". This appears to be the first time that an element of unity has been shown at the head of the government for a move towards recognizing the need for such intervention. The BBC and VOA both reported that the joint statement called for "foreign military internvention" though this has not been confirmed in Burundi. Nonetheless, the option for such intervention cannot be ruled out. However, despite this effort to dialogue, the political discussions have largely failed to reach solutions acceptable to all parties.

The second round of Mwanza peace talks, called by Julius Nyerere, took place on 17-18 June and were attended by representatives of all Burundian political parties. These talks appear to have been more positive than previous meetings. The next talks are planned to be held on 2 July in Mwanza.


A. Correction to Appeal Budget: In our appeal dated 11 June 1996, the ACT/Christian Aid budget showed a total financial requirement of $500,000. However, the line items totals did not corralate with this total. Herewith, are the correct details:

Plastic Sheeting (4x5 metres):
Blankets (3 per family):
Soap (2 kg/family):
20 mt
Jerrycans (20 litres) 1/family:
Sleeping mats (3/family):
Transport in Burundi

B.Financial Status:

The appeal called for a total amount of $570,000. Of this amount $19,639.15 (or 3.93%) has so far been pledged. We understand that DiaskonischesWerk have or will approach the German Government for financing and will earmark this for the plastic sheeting component for $240,000. Dutch Interchurch Aid advise us that they are contributing Guilders 200,000 (approximately $115,995) towards this appeal.

We await further notification from the Network of other contributions/pledges towards this emergency - due to the uncertainty of the current security situations, your urgent consideration would be apreciated.

Thank you for your support.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact the ACT Secretariat.

ACT Co-ordinating Office

Action by Churches Together (ACT) is a worldwide network of churches and their related agencies meeting human need through co-ordinated emergency response and common identity. The ACT network is organizationally based in the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) and is a co-ordinating rather than an operational office.

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