OCHA-Burundi Situation Report 10 - 16 Feb 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
Humanitarian Activities
1. Cholera epidemic declared in Rumonge (Bururi Province)

Since Monday 10 February there have been 25 cases of cholera in Rumonge town (primarily in the Swahili neighbourhood) reported Ms Hope Neighbor, Field Coordinator (Bururi Province) for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). 10 cases were identified on Friday 14 February, and three cases on Saturday 15 February. The Ministry of Health declared an official cholera epidemic on Thursday 13 February. Two cholera related deaths have been recorded (Friday 14 and Saturday 15, February). The IRC will commence community education campaigns in the city centre on Monday, in addition to supplying clean water to the local hospital and affected neighbourhoods, and coordinating INGO contributions. MSF-France donated 5000 rehydration sachets for cholera treatment, UNICEF have provided water treatment products and soap. "The epidemic is caused by the lack of potable water in Rumonge. There has been an interruption in the water supplied by Regideso to communal water points in the city. Local people (without private water supply) tend to carry dirty water from Lake Tanganyika", said Mr Eric Bigirimana, Bururi Provincial Doctor.

2. WFP food shortage

WFP's pipeline situation remains critical. WFP still faces food shortages at the time the admissions in nutritional centres increased and when WFP is on the verge of launching the Seeds Protection Rations (SPR) campaign. As a result, WFP could not provide emergency assistance to 177,600 persons.

3. School feeding programme to commence in Burundi

Children in Burundi's northern province of Karuzi who were likely to miss school because of hunger have started receiving meals at school through a major school-feeding programme by World Vision and the World Food Programme (WFP). Under the working agreement, lunch will be provided to children in 46 schools in the northern province of Karuzi, 161 kilometres from the capital Bujumbura. The budget for the first phase is US$1.6 million.

The school feeding programme is mainly to encourage children, especially girls to attend school. In fact, the enrolment of girls in first grade is now over the number of boys - 2042 boys to 2061 girls. A successful and continuous program may help to maintain at least a balance between boys and girls attending school. "We have waited so long to see the program start and now that the actual feeding of the children in school has started, children can stay in school much longer," says World Vision Burundi Director Maereg Tafere.

4. Seeds Protection Rations

WFP, in consultation with the Agricultural Coordination Committee members chaired by FAO and other partners, is preparing the launch of the Seeds Protection Rations (SPR) campaign scheduled for the second half of February. The preliminary caseload is estimated at 283,000 households with 160,500 classified first priority in Bubanza, Bujumbura Rural, Gitega, Kayanza, Muramvya, Ngozi and Ruyigi provinces. This estimate will be reviewed regularly based on the results of the joint crop yields and Food Needs Assessment Mission conducted by WFP/FAO/UNICEF and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

5. Returnees as at 8 February 2003

UNHCR (Burundi): report 3,545 facilitated and 2,262 spontaneous returnees Y.T.D. WFP, in collaboration with UNHCR and GTZ, assisted over 700 repatriates from Tanzania temporarily hosted in transit sites in Ngozi and Muyinga provinces.


6. Refugee moved to safer location

UNHCR transferred 406 refugees (Wednesday 12 February) from the Rugombo reception centre to Cishemeye I transit centre. More than 3,000 refugees are to be transferred to the newly-built Cishemeye II. Like Rugombo, both Cishemeye centres are in north-western Cibitoke Province, offering better living conditions for the refugees. UNHCR officials would like to move them even further away from the DRC border. "We are grateful to the government of Burundi for its open door policy towards refugees, and for its assistance to us," said UNHCR Representative in Burundi, Mr Stefano Severe. UNHCR began transferring refugees away from the volatile border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the end of January.

7. On going fighting between the Army and CNDD-FDD rebels.

As CNDD-FDD fighters left the Kibira Forest (11 February) and took positions in Rutegama, Mbuye and Kiganda communes (Muramvya Province), fighting started the following day (12 February) in various areas. Army sources report twenty rebels killed and several civilians wounded. General de Brigade Sylvestre Nimubona told journalists that some of the rebels had come from neighbouring communes of Bugendana and Giheta (Gitega Province). General Sylvestre Nimubona advised that other rebels left the Kibira Forest heading towards Bubanza (Karenzi and Rushiha areas) and Cibitoke (Bukinanyana Commune) provinces.

In Bujumbura Rural, abductions and the targeted killing of local officials continues. According to the local human rights association, Ligue Iteka, the Head of Nyambuye Zone, Mr Basile Ndarurinze, is the 85th official killed in Bujumbura Rural. According to Ligue Iteka, those targeted are accused of recruiting from within Palipehutu-FNL ranks (Agathon Rwasa) for the Palipehutu-FNL minority wing of Dr Alain Mugabarabona.

8. General

  • The arrival of AU observers for the ceasefire implementation was delayed because of the need for their vaccinations to be completed. Eight (from Togo) arrived on Wednesday (12 February).

  • One person died after a mine explosion in Kayogoro Commune, Makamba Province (8 February).

  • CNDD-FDD rebels attacked Gitega Town (Gitega Province) killing three and looting 50 homes in Mungwa and Magarama zones (8 February).

  • Bujumbura Rural Province: Approximately 6,000 people from Nyambuye Zone, Isale Commune Nyakibande, Nyambuye, Gishingano areas returned home this week almosta year after they fled fighting (FNL/Army) in Kanyosha Commune (Kavumu and Sororezo areas) and Gihosha zone.

9. Recent developments for the ceasefire implementation

Following the signed MoU (25 January) with the TNGoB, Mr Jean-Bosco Ndayikengurukiye and Dr Alain Mugabarabona, the minority rebel leaders (CNDD-FDD and Palipehutu-FNL) returned to Burundi (13 February) to participate in the peace process. Approximately forty senior lieutenants accompanied them. Dr Alain Mugabarabona (Palipehutu-FNL) told a news conference in South Africa that they are returning "to implement all agreements" they have signed. At week's end, talks continued between the TNGoB and CNDD-FDD in Pretoria. President Buyoya and Pierre Nkurunziza are attending the talks, which are evolving gradually according to TNGoB sources.

The date for the deployment of a Peace Monitoring Force comprising soldiers from Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa remains unannounced. A visit to Burundi by the South African and Mozambique Defence Ministers was cancelled this week (Tuesday 11 February).

According to a Voice of America (VOA) report, a US official, speaking anonymously, told VOA the USA is "...standing by to offer support that could be in the form of chartered aircraft to move peacekeepers within Africa to Burundi".

10. Burundi's Foreign Affairs Minister on visit to London

Mr Térence Sinunguruza, Burundi's Foreign Affairs Minister visited London (9-10 February) where he met with government authorities including Ms Claire Shot (DFID) and the Parliamentary Group for the Great Lakes Region. They discussed Burund's socio-political situation since 1993, the peace process and the ceasefire agreements. Minister Sinunguruza asked the British Government to support the Burundi ceasefire implementation at the UN.

11. Latest Events

  • Three CNDD-FDD senior officials arrived in Bujumbura, Burundi, (Saturday 8 February) to prepare the return for Mr Jean-Bosco Ndayikengurkukiye, CNDD-FDD Representative.

  • An administration source reports FDD rebels continued gathering on the border between Tanzania and Burundi (Cankuzo Province, Gisagara Commune).

  • Six new parties (ALIDE, NADDEBU, SONOVI, PADER, UPD, PAJUDE) call for release of political leaders from UPRONA Party wing (including Mr Charles Mukasi) and PARENA Party President (former President Bagaza) 8 February.

  • Over 900 hundred young Burundians from refugee camps in Tanzania (Nduta and Ngara) have reportedly joined CNDD-FDD ranks (Pierre Nkurunziza).

  • President Buyoya and Dr Jean Minani (President of the TNA) are in Pretoria in ceasefire talks with Mr Pierre Nkurunziza (CNDD-FDD) (11 and 9 February).

  • The TNGoB and the CNDD-FDD (Pierre Nkurunziza) met in Dar-es-Salaam (3 to 7 February) to finalise the details of December accord.

  • Ligue Iteka, Burundi Human Rights association, held a press café (11 February) to discuss the ceasefire implementation. Panelists with contradictory views included former President Ntibantunganya, Mr Rémy Nkengurutse (Senior PARENA Party member) and General de Brigade Célestin Ndayisaba (Government/Army).

  • Mr Didace Kiganahe, Minister for Good Governance, launched (12 February) local committees for good governance. For its pilot phase, the programme will cover four provinces: Kayanza, Muramvya, Gitega and Ngozi.

  • Increase in oil price: Petrol, gasoline and paraffin are up 100 Burundi francs. The local news agency ABP, reported an increased bus fare of 20% (12 February) for Bujumbura-Bubanza.

  • The University of South Africa (UNISA) has announced its intent to enter into partnerships with various African universities including the University of Burundi.

  • The Chinese Army has decalred it is ready to participate in a UN Peace-keeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi's western neighour.

  • The Human Rights Association, Ligue Izere, issued a statement (15 January) urging the TNGoB to investigate killings in Taba quarter, Gihosha Zone, Bujumbura Mairie (6 January).

  • The EC announced a EUR 15 million humanitarian aid plan for Burundi (14 February).

12. Contact Group Meeting (for the Minutes access: www.ochaburundi.org)

Chaired by Mr Stefano, Severe, Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. Thirty-seven people attended (6 February). Mr Jean-Alexandre Scaglia, FAO emergency coordinator, presented the report on the evaluation of 2003 A-season.

13. GTS meeting (Monday 10 February)

Chaired by Mr Emmanuel Jenje, GTS President.

GTS conducted a mission in Ruyigi and will report next week.

14. OCHA field visits and meetings

OCHA held a session on contingency response plan (13 February).

For Information

Nicholas McGowan, Information Officer, OCHA Burundi
PH: (257) 951 681
Email: mcgowann@un.org

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