Bujumbura - Funding from the European Union (EU) is helping the World Food Programme (WFP) to predict climate shocks and implement a series of timely activities to improve the resilience of communities in Burundi affected by torrential rains.
In August this year, WFP distributed a total of 135,000 Euros to 13,000 people in areas at risk of flooding in south western Burundi. The EU-funded cash assistance allows vulnerable communities to take anticipatory measures such as protecting and/or strengthening their homes, securing their household assets, or purchasing the necessary equipment to reduce the effects of flooding.
The preparedness of local communities to anticipate and respond to natural disasters was also improved by setting up twenty Community Disaster Risk Reduction Committees (CDRRCs) in exposed areas, whose 160 members, together with fifty Burundi Red Cross (BRC) staff, were trained in: (i) the functioning of the forecasting-based funding (FbF) approach, (ii) the early warning system, and (iii) the programming of cash transfers in emergency situations. These committees developed anticipatory action plans (e.g., drainage channels, house reinforcement, evacuation plans).
In addition, two VHF radio communication facilities were installed covering nearly ten provinces, and 160 BRC volunteers were trained in the use and transmission of warning messages for anticipatory action. The total number of beneficiaries reached over the course of the year by this weather forecasting-based funding (FbF) project is estimated to be around 70,000 people, including those who regularly receive alert messages from the communication facilities installed in the project area.
"The FbF approach was first introduced in Burundi in 2020. It is an innovative mechanism by which anticipatory actions are pre-planned and implemented before climate shocks take place. The objectives are to better prepare communities to natural disasters, reduce the need for assistance during extreme weather and bridge the gap between emergency preparedness and response," explains Housainou Taal, the WFP Representative and Country Director in Burundi.
Burundi is a country vulnerable to climatic shocks, particularly flooding due to its hilly landscapes and proximity to Lake Tanganyika. WFP aims to establish a comprehensive forecasting-based system and hand over its entire design and management to the BRC within approximately two to three years. The overall objective of this EU-funded project is to build community resilience and position the BRC as the first local early warning and early action responder.
In 2021-2022, WFP's proposed action, again with funding from the EU, aims to complement and expand investments by broadening FbF’s scope to also include drought-affected provinces (Kirundo) and by strengthening community preparedness for epidemics (e.g., COVID-19) and man-made disasters.
The United Nations World Food Programme is the Laureate of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. We are the world's largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a path to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disaster, and the impact of climate change.
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