Burundi: Floods in Gatumba - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF n° MDRBI014

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 4 May, a heavy rainfall led to flooding in Gatumba, located at approximately 12 kilometres from the city of Bujumbura. This was one of the many floods which have affected the country since January 2018. Like many others, this area is prone to periodic flooding and has a population comprising of farmers, livestock and small traders. A joint assessment conducted on 9 May by Burundi Red Cross Society, the government of Burundi, OCHA, WFP, UNICEF, IOM, NRC, Millions for One and PACT in 6 sites in Gatumba indicated that flooding in Gatumba was caused by overflow of two rivers, Rusizi 1 and 2 which are tributaries of Lake Tanganyika crossing Gatumba area from Kivu.

The flooding had severe consequences with 12,956 people (2,143 men, 2,258 women and 8,555 children) and 2,133 houses affected in 9 locations as indicated in below table:

Damage to infrastructure, including bridges and roads is also reported, hampering access to the affected population. With the assessed needs, urgent support is required for 12,956 people in Gatumba in the following sectors; Shelter, WASH, livelihoods and basic needs, health and protection, gender and inclusion (PGI) (see Table 2 under Needs Analysis). To support the Government in responding to these needs, Burundi Red Cross, is requesting for CHF 277,647.81 to reach approximately 30 percent of the affected population, i.e. 3,885 people (777 households) in the areas of Shelter, WASH and PGI through this DREF operation.

It should be noted that climate change is expected to increase the frequency and impact of hydro-meteorological hazards. In January 2018, severe weather including flooding left almost 2,000 displaced and destroyed or severely damaged hundreds of homes in Burundi1 . Over 12,000 people were affected. Further, in March 2018, a landslide triggered by heavy rain left at least 6 people dead and 3 injured near the Gasenyi river in the east of the capital, Bujumbura.

Following this, another episode of rainfall and flooding occurred in April and according to the damage assessment of 30 April conducted by the Burundi Red Cross Society, heavy downpour worsened the situation by breaking one of the dykes of the Mutumbizi River causing the river to flood nearby communities in Buterere-Kiyange 1 and Ngagara-Sabe areas close to the city of Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi. This situation left 2,573 people (511 households) homeless with over 1,900 of them children. Many of them lost their homes and possessions and are currently staying with their relatives and friends while some are living in private plots, public schools or in rented houses within the two affected areas. Also, the flooding is reported to have caused 1 death and 4 injuries. Kiyange 1 and Ngagara-Sabe areas are located in Cholera Outbreak belt and before the floods, the same population had been hit by the Cholera outbreak and respiratory infections.

Considering the danger of disease outbreak facing the affected population at the time, Burundi Red Cross Society mobilised its volunteers to disinfect homes and displacement locations in the two affected areas mentioned above. This work was done in collaboration with the national platform for risk prevention and disaster management.

Burundi is a small, landlocked country in East Africa with a population of 10.2 million people. The country has one of the highest population densities in Africa. It is a chronically poor country with 81 per cent of the population living on less than 1.25 US dollars a day. More than 90 per cent of its population are involved in agriculture with most people practising subsistence farming. Burundi’s population is currently growing rapidly despite significant health and environmental factors, adding to pressure on land resources. In addition to this, the country is exposed to several hazards, including earthquakes, landslides, river floods, and water scarcity. Factors influencing the country’s vulnerability include soil degradation, deforestation, high poverty levels, and population density. Further, the country faces insecurity challenges due to civil wars.