Burundi Situation Report: 5 - 11 Dec 2005



At around 12H00 GMT on 5 December a strong earthquake was felt across Burundi. The epicentre was located 55km southeast of the Congolese town of Kalemie in the middle of Lake Tanganyika. The magnitude recorded at the epicentre was 6.8. This caused a structure to collapse in Makamba killing a child and badly injuring another one. Other than that no deaths or major damages were recorded.



Malaria: WHO confirmed that malaria cases in Kayanza province (Gahombo commune) had reached levels of an epidemic. Anti-malaria drugs and treated mosquito nets were being delivered by mobile teams. In other provinces (Ngozi, Makamba, Gitega and Muramvya) a surge in malaria cases was equally recorded. The LMTC (Lutte Contre les Maladies Transmissibles et Carentielles) section of the Ministry of Public Health launched an assessment mission on 7 December.

Cholera: The situation in Makamba and Bururi was under control with no further cases registered for several weeks. However, in Cibitoke new cases had been admitted since mid-November. As of 7 December the total number of cases had risen to 43, albeit no deaths occurred.


On 5 and 11 December UNHCR convoys repatriated 148 and 307 returnees respectively. This brought the total number of returns in 2005 to 67,131 including 1,502 spontaneous returns.

On 8 December the National Commission for the Rehabilitation of War Affected Persons (CNRS), UNHCR and OCHA undertook a joint mission to Rugombo commune (Cibitoke province) to look into the situation of Burundian returnees who had arrived in 2002 and 2004 but continued to be in destitute. The immediate need is to construct hangars for persons without shelter and to ensure that all returnees in the area feature on the distribution lists for assistance.

Refugees / Asylum Seekers:

UNHCR transferred 100 Congolese refugees (16 families) on 6 December from Cibitoke province to Gasorwe camp (Muyinga province). The refugees were not new arrivals but rather refugees who had been dispersed across the province after having refused to move to a camp following the closure of Mugarama transit centre in the area in mid-2004.

UNHCR reported that a total of 4,999 DAR were present in three sites in Northern Burundi: Mivo (2,704), Rwizuri (2,115) and Mugano (40). Constructions of the reception centre for the status determination of this group in Musasa (Ngozi province) continued. The Government and UNHCR dispatched joint teams to conduct refugee status determination (RSD). For the time being the RSD teams were compiling complete lists of Rwandans in all three sites in order to prepare for RSD once they are transferred to Musasa.

Food Aid Distribution:

WFP Country Office (CO) distributed 1,258 MT of food aid to 223,870 beneficiaries nationwide. Food aid distributed includes maize, beans and oil.


Humanitarian Situation in Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza:

Thousands of families continued to commute at night in order to sleep near facilities of provincial or communal authorities or went to stay near military facilities. The most affected communes were Nyabiraba, Mtambu, Kanyosha, Mubimbi in Bujumbura Rural and Rugazi and Musigati in Bubanza. Authorities and military officials continued to report a rise in desertions from and breakings with FNL-PALIPEHUTU.

Protection and Access:

Access to prisons and to police stations by human rights observers (incl. ONUB) as well as local NGOs working on protection improved.

Public Information:

16 days of activism against sexual violence: The campaign which started on 25 November ended on 10 December with a march and closing ceremony in Gitega.

Human Rights Day: On 10 December the UN country also team celebrated Human Rights Day under the theme "End Torture Now".


On 7 December OCHA organised and facilitated the contact group meeting in Bujumbura with an emphasis on the current health situation and the new national health policy.

During the reporting period OCHA also facilitated the focal point meetings Ngozi and Karuzi for the coordination of humanitarian affairs at provincial level.

For more information:

Volker Schimmel
Humanitarian Affairs Officer (Information)
Tel: (257) 21 80 34
E-mail: schimmelv@un.org


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