Burundi: Situation Report (12 Jun 2020)

Situation Report
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  • COVID-19 Update
  • Victims of natural disasters in need of food assistance
  • UNICEF provides emergency support to flood-affected community of Gatumba
  • UNICEF supports the national response against COVID-19
  • Leveraging behavioural change communication to advance the fight against malnutrition

COVID-19 Update

First case: 31 March 2020

Total cases: 83 (as of 6 June 2020)

Total deaths: 1

Flights/Borders: All international passenger flights were suspended on 22 March. Humanitarian aid, diplomatic and emergency medical flights are exempt from this suspension measure. The land borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda were reopened on 15 April to allow the movement of goods. The border with Tanzania has remained open for the movement of goods and for the return of Burundians.

Containment measures: Since 5 March, self-financed 14-day quarantine is mandatory for travellers and anyone who has had contact with symptomatic people.

Victims of natural disasters in need of food assistance

On 19 and 30 April 2020, heavy rainfall caused the banks of the Rusizi River to overflow in Bujumbura Rural province, flooding over 7,000 homes and affecting approximately 50,000 people according to the Government’s figures. The humanitarian community, together with the Government and the private sector, swiftly mobilized to provide assistance to those most affected. This included relocating displaced families to temporary shelter sites, distributing food and non-food items, providing water, sanitation, and hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and more. In April, the World Food Programme (WFP) in Burundi provided lifesaving food aid to 1,804 families who lost their belongings during the floods. Also, 9,070 affected people received 2-month food rations, consisting of 321 tons.

Flooding has destroyed thousands of hectares of crops that were ready for harvest (mainly pulses and cereals), depriving the locals of essential food stocks for the coming year. With over 80 per cent of the population reliant on subsistence farming, already vulnerable communities will likely suffer a difficult lean season due to insufficient harvests, as well as increased market prices.

Over the past three months, there has been an upward trend in prices of basic food commodities in most markets. However, the prices of tubers and roots (mainly sweet potatoes and cassava) remain constant. In January 2020, the price of maize, the most consumed cereal, increased by 48 per cent compared to 2019 and by 20 per cent compared to the average of the last three years. The excessive rainfall could impact harvests during the 2020B growing season (Feb-Mar). Forecasts also indicate that the price of maize and beans could continue to rise as traders try to preserve their crops in anticipation of potentially poor harvests.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to also impact the food security sector. Due to increased prices increasing prices and lead times on procurement. The desert locust outbreak in the Greater Horn of Africa region has also reduced regional procurement opportunities. Overall, a low level of stocks across all sectors and lack of funding constrain the humanitarian response and limit humanitarian partners’ capacity to respond to the consequences of these natural disasters.

Urgent additional funding is needed to ensure the capacity to respond to both sudden emergencies as well as to pre-existing needs.

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