Burundi

WFP assists severely food-insecure Batwa in Muyinga province

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Background

Following an alert from the local administration, WFP jointly with the Burundi Red Cross, the Muyinga Provincial Directorate for Agriculture and Livestock, the Provincial Health Office, the Provincial Platform for Disaster Reduction conducted a rapid assessment on 11 March 2016 in sites hosting Batwa in Muyinga province, north Burundi. The objective was to assess the food security situation in those sites following reports of deaths caused by starvation. Cumba zone hosting 3 sites was targeted. The mission learned through focus group conversations that 24 people belonging to the Batwa community hosted in the sites had died from January to March, but only 4 were confirmed by the health center located in the vicinity of sites. It is worth noting that the Batwa in general rarely use health facilities when they are sick. The mission found that all the households in the sites were foodinsecure mainly due to the bad performance of the agricultural season 2016A (October-December). The population had no coping strategies left: no opportunity for selling labour, their tiny land was not exploited for lack of seeds, tiles on roofs were already sold, etc. Food insecurity was aggravated by the outbreak of malaria and bad hygiene conditions leading to the reported deaths.