Burundi

Burundi: Floods and Landslides April 2021 - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRBI018

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Situation Report
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Lake Tanganyika water level have been rising since February 2021. Heavy rainfall since the start of April has worsened the situation with further rainfall predicted until mid-May. As of 19 April 2021, the level of Lake Tanganyika stood at 776.4 metres above sea level compared to the normal average level of 772.7 metres.

From April 12, 2021 in the province of Rumonge households near the shores were flooded. In parts of the lakes, it reported the coastline has expanded 300 to 500m. Houses are flooded, and families forced to leave to evacuation centres or host families. UNOCHA reported around 8,000 families have been affected and 2,000 displaced by flooding in lakeside communities including Bugarama, Kanyenkoko, Muhuta, Nyanza-Lac, Gatumba, Rukaramu, Kibenga, Gisyo and Kabondo. Two casualties have been recorded to date.

On 20 April 2021, the Government (through the Meteorological Director General) officially declared the disaster and asked the affected populations to evacuate the flooded areas in the provinces of Rumonge, Makamba in the Nyanza-Lac Commune, Bujumbura Capital and Bujumbura Rural in the Mutimbuzi Commune in the zone of the Gatumba and Rukaramu areas. The Government has asked humanitarian actors to be mobilized to assist the affected people.

Rains are expected till mid-May. As the waters continue to rise and the impact of the floods evolves continued assessment is underway by BRCS and other humanitarian partners. In addition, the Government are also considering their response in the short and long term it meets the needs of the affected population living in flood and landslide affected areas.

Meanwhile at least one landslide has been reported by the Government in Bujumbura Province that has destroyed at least 40 houses.

Among the damages caused by the rise in water level of the Lake Tanganyika are flooded villages, displaced populations, tourist places and infrastructures have been badly affected, water and sanitation infrastructures impacted. The roads to Gisyo and Kibenga are no longer passable. Hundreds of houses are flooded, and currently uninhabitable others have been complete or partially destroyed by landslide. Many households are living with host communities or assigned evacuation centres.

Lake Tanganyika stretches from Gatumba Zone in the Commune of Mutimbuzi to Nyanza-Lac Commune in the Kabonga zone, which is 159 km long, along the coastline of the major roads that are the national road 4 (RN4) and the national road 3 (RN3).

The rise of the lake is centennial and cyclic, and the most catastrophic floods were recorded since 1878 with a height of 783.6m and in 1964 with a maximum of 777.08m. Among the four countries bordering Lake Tanganyika affected by the rising waters of the lake, Burundi is the most threatened. Since 2018, there has been an increase in rainfall in the Lake Tanganyika basin and in March 2021 the water level has risen dramatically so that the situation is comparable to that observed in 1964. Analysts say that the cause of the increase of water levels is coupled with the climate change.

This situation occurs during the negative socio-economic effects of COVID-19 and the increase in cases of community transmission. The floods increase the risks of diseases with potential epidemic, including malaria and cholera.

Before the official declaration of the disaster by the Meteorological Director General on 20 April 2021, the Shelter and Essential Household Items sectoral group: Burundi Red Cross, World Vision, Christian Aid, Help Child and IOM organized on 13 April an initial emergency needs assessment in the 3 Provinces Makamba, Rumonge et Bujumbura Rural – details of this are held in the need’s analysis section of this plan.