2,228 mt of food assistance distributed
US$ 35 m net funding requirements for the next six months (June-November 2020)
504,206 people assisted in May 2020
Assistance to refugees: In May, with the support of USAID’s Office Food for Peace, WFP assisted 48,424 Congolese refugees in five camps with 1,432 mt of food assistance, representing a two-month ration to meet their nutritional needs up to June. During these distributions, WFP and its partners strictly implemented protective measures against COVID-19, including suspension of the use of the point of sale machine which requires PIN-code, and which has been replaced by contactless SCOPE cards. These cards allow for a faster delivery and quicker delivery, considerably reducing the contacts between the refugees. WFP is planning the distribution of cash (US$ 0.09/Person/month) for four months to buy fresh food to diversify the ration, thanks to donations from German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO).
Assistance to returnees:WFP continues to support repatriation of Burundian refugees by providing food assistance to Burundian returnees. In May, 877 Burundian returnees were assisted with 42 mt of food consisting of a cooked ration at transit centers and a three-month ration package to facilitate their reintegration in the communities. Burundi does not require returnees to be quarantined and has not yet made any plans to quarantine them. At the same time, in mid-May, there were no new arrivals due to the presidential elections.
Assistance to IDPs: WFP provided 62 mt of food assistance to 3,130 people displaced by flooding in the Gatumba area and hosted in four temporary sites. Due to the recent flooding and landslides caused by torrential rains affecting Burundi last April, these internally displaced people (IDPs) lost their assets and crops.
Nutrition: Under stunting prevention activities, WFP provided 94 mt of specialized nutritious food to 37,543 children age 6-23 months and 11,799 pregnant and lactating women in the Kirundo province. Through treatment of Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) activities, WFP supported 5,222 moderately malnourished pregnant and nursing women and 8,837 children aged 6-59 months with 67 mt of specialized nutritious foods in four provinces (Cankuzo, Kirundo, Ngozi, Rutana).
School feeding: Schools remain open in Burundi notwithstanding COVID-19 and WFP has implemented protective and preventive measures for the school canteens, together with the Ministry of Education. In May, WFP provided a daily hot meal to 388,374 schoolchildren, distributing 387 tons of food and 145 tons of milk. To protect these children from COVID-19, WFP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, organized sensitization sessions in the assisted schools. Food prices: According to the mid-May Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) market price monitoring, all staples' prices continue to increase. The price of beans increased by 18 percent during the two first weeks of May. The peak of the lean season combined with other factors such as the destruction caused by the recent excessive rains and the disruption of trade activity (transborder trade) due to COVID-19 are behind these high food prices. However, this price hike does not include the price of rice, which has started decreasing with the harvest of season B and after months of excessive rains, which have affected other crops negatively.
Emergency budget revision: Following an emergency budget revision to its ICSP to prevent and mitigate the programmatic and logistics constraints related to COVID-19, WFP requires US$ 19.2 million to maintain and scale-up its life-saving food assistance activities, including the COVID-19 related needs. Among the most vulnerable groups classified as severity three of the Humanitarian Needs Overview, WFP will provide a 3-month assistance to an additional 250,000 people, not targeted under the Humanitarian Response Plan, but are most likely to need humanitarian assistance due to COVID-19 impact. Under its strategic objective five, WFP will ensure access to all actors to adequate transport and storage capacity and enough stock of required supplies as well as commodities through an increase of its budget.
Political developments: On 20 May, Burundi held general elections, which resulted in the victory of Evariste Ndayishimiye, candidate of the ruling CNDD-FDD party. The National Independent Electoral Commission announced that he had won the presidential elections with a score of 68.7 percent against his challenger, Mr. Agathon Rwasa, of the CNL party. The latter filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court of Burundi on allegations of fraud, which were dismissed before the ruling party candidate's victory was confirmed.
Agathon Rwasa said he accepted the court's verdict. During the electoral period and the COVID-19 context, WFP is implementing its business continuity plan, as part of the protective measures against the outbreak, while life-saving food assistance continues.
Impact of food security: COVID-19 is negatively impacting Burundi's already fragile food security situation. In May, WFP's mVAM revealed that food continues to be in short supply in the local market during the lean season (April-May), while floods seem to have already compromised the 2020 B agricultural season (June-July). Besides, as a result of prevention and protection measures against the virus,
COVID-19 became a hindrance to cross-border markets with Tanzania and DRC, where vulnerable households could supply, decreasing formal and informal imports.