Burundi: Natural Disasters - Flash Update No. 1 - 22 April 2020

Originally published



• On 19 April, according to local authorities, 27,972 people were displaced due to the Ruzizi river overflowing into six districts of Gatumba in Mutimbuzi Commune (Bujumbura Rural province)

• 6,010 houses were flooded, severely damaged or destroyed

• Shelter, access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) and food are among the most urgent needs.
At present these supplies are low, making it difficult for humanitarian organisations to respond.


• Torrential rains, violent winds, landslides, and floods that occurred between 13 and 19 April have caused devastation in Cibitoke, Bubanza, and Bujumbura Rural provinces.

• In Bujumbura Rural, the rains have caused the banks of the Ruzizi river to overflow, flooding over 6,010 houses and displacing thousands of families. In Mutimbuzi commune, the river flooded six districts of Gatumba, including Kinyinya 1&2, Muyange 2, Mushasha 1&2, Gaharawe (Bujumbura Mairie)

• Strong winds, torrential rains, and landslides have affected a total of 813 people in Rumonge province (715) and Bubanza province (98), the majority of whom are now displaced • The damage toll is still rising as flooded houses continue to collapse • On 20 April, Civil Protection, with the Burundian Red Cross (BRC) and OCHA, conducted an initial mission in the affected area to assess the damage and identify shelter options for the most vulnerable. The mission was followed by an inter-agency rapid assessment on 21 April to confirm the numbers and get a better sense of the immediate needs as well as agree on the response strategy


• A temporary relocation site (emergency shelters including WaSH amenities) in Gatumba is a top priority. People also urgently need food due to the loss of stocks

• The COVID-19 prevention measures, such as the traffic limitations at the border between Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo - with these floods - have further harmed the local economy in Gatumba

• Over 400 Ha of crops that were ready for harvest were flooded, depriving the local population of a food supply

• Thousands of homes were flooded, destroyed or isolated. At present, 6,010 households need shelter

• Most household effects were washed away or destroyed by the floods. As a result, many people no longer have clothes, food stocks, or basic necessities such as blankets, cooking utensils and water containers.

• Latrines have overflown, contaminating flooded areas and drinking water sources. Children play in these waters and people are defecating in open areas. New pathologies have emerged, including skin itching and locals express concern over parasites in the water. Health actors warn of the spread of diseases such as malaria and cholera.
Mosquito nets are urgently needed. Flooded areas must be continuously disinfected to reduce the health risks.

• 3 schools have flooded, preventing over 1,500 students from returning to school. Children living in the six affected areas have lost all their school materials, making it difficult for them to resume classes.

• Although the total number of people affected and in need are not fully confirmed (evaluations are ongoing), sectors’ capacities will not be able to cover all humanitarian needs.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.