Marek News Briefs: Burundi

Originally published
There are plentiful ways to die in Burundi, and now a cholera epidemic in the squalid displaced peoples' camps in the country are killing as well. Louis Kamwenubusa reported for Reuters on December 14 that an outbreak of cholera in the controversial camps in Burundi has cost at least 48 lives in the last week and aid workers fear the epidemic could spread quickly. The Burundian army has forced an estimated 330,000 citizens, mostly from Bujumbura, into more than 50 of these so-called "regroupment" camps in the hills surrounding Bujumbura since September. The government's move is controversial because it has raised the specter of the Khmer Rouge's evacuation of all citizens from Phnom Penh, resulting in the Cambodian Genocide. Aid workers have warned that an epidemic could strike at any time in the crowded and often unsanitary camps, with food, medicine and shelter in short supply. With 48 dead, aid workers say they have already registered 200 more cases of cholera in two regroupment camps. The worst affected camps are Kabezi and Ruziba, which lie just south of the capital and house around 25,000 and 12,000 people respectively. The war in Burundi has not commanded great international attention because the 200,000 people who have been killed as a result of that nation's war have been killed incrementally over six years rather than in the short span of a few weeks such as in the case of Rwanda. But the head count is awesome nonetheless. In addition to the 200,000 dead, more than a million people have been displaced from their homes.