Burundi: Alarming humanitarian situation

SOLIDARITES, an international emergency humanitarian aid organisation, calls for all humanitarian means to be mobilised to cope with the alarming situation faced by Burundese civilians caught in the violent clashes between the army and armed groups since January 17th, 2003.
On Thursday 23 January, our team, who are working in Gitega province, were able to assess the living conditions of around 1,200 displaced families (around 6,000 people) on the Gihe hill in Giheta district.

Guillaume Huon de kermadec, our nutrition coordinator for this province, estimates that, in a week's time, the minimal provisions that these people were able to bring with them will run out. The displaced families will then be dependent on the solidarity of the families residing in the area, but their provisions will also run out in two or three week's time, « Then, the displaced population's situation will be truly disastrous », concluded our Head of mission for Burundi Maud Ropars.

Furthermore, many of the displaced families whom we visited have been sleeping outside for the past week and are suffering from cold, thirst and lack of basic hygiene. They are in urgent need of emergency food aid as well as basic shelter materials and hygiene products. An assessment has also been carried out in Kirimbi district, where several thousand people are in distress.

SOLIDARITES has decided to return to Giheta district as from Monday, despite the extreme difficulty of reaching the displaced population since many roads have been cut off due to current military operations. In partnership with UNICEF, we will commence the emergency distribution of biscuits for children, blankets, water cans, soap and plastic sheeting. In addition, our team will carry out malnourishment screening from Tuesday onwards in Giheta district.

SOLIDARITES renews its appeal for the urgent mobilisation of food aid and emergency products for the civilian population of Gitega province, as well as the other provinces affected by the fighting, and asks for access to these populations to be guaranteed.

Contacts :

Maud Ropars, head of mission for Burundi, tél. : 00 257 952 792
Benoît-Xavier Loridon, Tél. : 06 08 28 30 01
Sébastien le Clézio, Communication Manager, tél. : 01 43 15 13 13
To find out more about Solidarités, please visit our website : http://www.solidarites.org

To support SOLIDARITES' emergency humanitarian aid in Burundi

Please send your donations to : SOLIDARITES - BP 100 - 75020 Paris, or to SOLIDARITES - Villa Souchet - 105 Avenue Gambetta - 75020 Paris