Update on humanitarian assistance to Rwandese asylum seekers in Burundi: humanitarian assistance to Rwandan asylum seekers continues to be provided within the framework established by the government of Burundi. The asylum seekers arrive in the sole site of Songore from Cankuzo and other areas in Ngozi and Kirundo. Extension of the centre is underway in order to reach a hosting capacity of up to 6,000 persons. In addition to the twelve existing sheds, four others will be built. Plastic sheeting is distributed to new comers in order to secure temporary sheltering.
WFP has provided food aid to 4,739 asylum seekers through its partner CARE International on Thursday 2 June. Following the identification of severely malnourished cases, ACF has planed a systematic screening of malnutrition cases. No epidemic has been reported so far; however, six cases of dysentery have been identified and are being treated by Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA). A vaccination campaign against measles has been planed. Due to imminent shortage of medicines in Ngozi health centres where asylum seekers receive medical assistance, the bi-monthly health exchange meeting held in Bujumbura on 1 June has recommended that UNICEF avails additional essential medical kits in these centres. It was also decided to reinforce epidemic surveillance mechanisms. Meanwhile, water and sanitation in Songore site remain an issue. There are only 70 latrines for nearly 6,000 persons. Construction of latrines continues in order to improve the situation. Concerning water supply, all options that would reinforce water trucking pipeline have been envisaged in order to meet emergency standards.
As a result of sensitization activities jointly organized by Burundian and Rwandan authorities, 120 asylum seekers have already returned to Rwanda.
ACTIVITIES AND UPDATES
Health, Butaganzwa Commune (Kayanza): MSF Holland has started its programme in Musema (Butaganzwa Commune) health facility. Without external support, this hospital has not functioned for long time due to lack of resources. MSF Holland's support mainly includes medical supplies and capacity building for the health staff.
Food security: From 30 May till 3 June, FAO/Emergency Coordination Unit conducted a training session on the cassava disease in Gitega for partners including the department of agriculture and livestock, NGOs and the national Research Institute for improved seeds. The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness on the cassava mosaic issue in the current context of efforts to find varieties that resist to the disease. In addition, FAO, UNICEF, WFP, OCHA and the Ministry of Agriculture will jointly conduct a two-week mission to assess the agricultural season 2005-B crop yields and subsequent food/nutrition needs.
Refugee returns: as of 29 May, UNHCR reports 12,072 facilitated and 848 spontaneous returnees. Total: 12,920 returnees. As part of repatriation efforts, UNHCR has undertaken building activities aiming at extension of six health centres in Ruyigi Province. Four primary schools are under construction in Gitega (2) and in Ruyigi (2). In Cankuzo Province, nine primary schools will be built with the financial support of UNHCR.
Food aid update: Last week, the Country Office (CO) distributed 533 Mt of food to 97,670 beneficiaries in Burundi.
SECURITY AND ACCESS
Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza: due to shelling and gunfire, people in six communes in Bujumbura Rural (Isale, Muhuta, Nyabiraba, Kanyosha) and in Bubanza (Mpanda and Rugazi) could not vote on 3 June. In Bujumbura Rural, people were temporarily displaced.
Ruyigi and Rutana: armed banditry has been reported in Ruyigi (31 May); in Shanga (Rutana), armed men in military uniforms looted several households (29 May).
Gitega: extended movement of protest by guardians of peace claiming for demobilization fees has been reported. However, this did not hamper the holding of the communal elections.
Contact Group meeting: held on 1 June. The Minister of Environment was the guest speaker. He briefly presented the situation of the environment in Burundi, a few days before the celebration of the World Environment Day (5 June). "The situation is concerning," said Minister Albert Mbonerane. He invited all humanitarian actors to support the awareness campaign on environment issues to prevent further destruction due to poor /lack of information.
Displacement of population: 287 persons from Northern provinces who were displaced in Kabuyenge (Ruyigi) due to food insecurity have returned into their communes of origin, Busoni and Bugabira (Kirundo Province). This operation has been made possible due to joint collaboration of the UNHCR, the National Commission for War Affected Persons (CNRS) and the Ministry of Reinsertion. OCHA has undertaken contacts with WFP and FAO in order to organize assistance.
FAO/ agriculture coordination committee (CCA): held on 1 June. Participants including UN agencies, national and international NGOs and the agriculture and livestock department approved the project of assistance to the vulnerable throughout season 2005-C. Associations of vulnerable will receive seeds package comprised of vegetable seeds, beans, maize, sweet potatoes, fertilizers and tools starting mid June 2005.
Makamba: within the framework of rehabilitation of infrastructures in areas of important returning caseloads of displaced persons and refugees, OCHA has participated in the identification of six primary schools to be built in Kibago and Kayogoro communes. These activities will be achieved with the financial support of UNDP.
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