• Heavy rainfall since January 2019 has affected thousands, displaced almost 13,000 people, and caused at least 45 deaths in Burundi.
• The rains have triggered flash floods, mudslides and landslides in various provinces, with Bujumbura Rural & Mairie, and Bubanza provinces amongst the hardest-hit.
• These disasters have damaged infrastructure, and hampered access to food, water, education and healthcare. There is also an increased risk of diseases spreading such as malaria and cholera.
• On 5 December, 26 people were killed and many were displaced, due to a landslide caused by torrential rains in Mugina commune of Cibitoke province (northwestern Burundi).
• Rescue efforts are currently underway, however existing emergency stocks are almost empty and are insufficient to respond to humanitarian needs.
Heavy rainfall in many provinces of Burundi since the start of the rainy season in September 2019 has led to flash floods, mudslides and landslides. Natural disasters regularly affect the country and account for over three quarters (77 per cent) of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) according to the International Organization for Migration's Displacement Tracking Matrix. As of September 2019, there are 103,412 IDPs in Burundi, of whom roughly 79,600 are displaced due to natural disasters (including over 8,400 displaced since January 2019), mainly in the regions bordering Lake Tanganyika, and the north-western and central provinces.
In the night of 4 to 5 December, 26 people died and over 500 people were affected by torrential rains and landslides which caused devastation in the northwestern provinces of Cibitoke, Bubanza, and the northeastern province of Cankuzo. The death toll and number of people displaced is expected to rise in the days ahead as further information is received and verified from affected areas. Destruction and damage of key infrastructure - including homes, roads, and bridges - has been reported. Over 80 houses, 6 bridges and roads, and 9 water access points have been destroyed, and crops continue to be wiped out.
Emergency relief services are being deployed by the Government of Burundi's Administration and its Civil Protection and Disaster Management Unit, the Police, the Army, the surrounding population, the Cibitoke and Mabayi Health Districts and the Burundi Red Cross (BRC).
With the early onset of the September 2019 rainy season and above average rainfall forecasted, there is a greater risk of natural disasters in the coming months. East Africa has recently experienced a bout of unseasonably heavy rainfall due to higher-than-average water temperatures in the Indian Ocean, which is partially attributed to a larger, global phenomenon of rising ocean temperatures. Burundi is among the twenty most vulnerable countries to climate change and natural hazards.
The recently launched Global Humanitarian Overview indicates that 1.74M people will be in need in 2020. Natural disasters can pose substantial risks as approximately 80 per cent of Burundians depend on subsistence farming.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.