and floods in
a national crisis
The Government of Burundi has declared the situation in the country a
national disaster and called for national and international
assistance to deal with the crisis.
After a period of poor rains in September when maize and
beans are normally planted, the rains arrived but have been
prolonged and heavy with severe thunder storms.
The rains have caused much damage throughout the country.
Houses and other buildings, such as schools and churches, have
been destroyed. Bridges and parts of roads have been damaged
disrupting travel and communication. Crops
have been washed away or destroyed by flooding. For example, in
one small district alone it is estimated that over 1000 homes
have been destroyed, and many acres of crops have been swept
away by floodwaters.
There are reports of people having died and school
children unable to go to school because of hunger. Incidents of
diseases such as cholera along with severe cases of malnutrition
and other related diseases are increasingly stretching hospitals
and medical resources to their limits. The conditions
particularly impact the most vulnerable such as orphans, widows,
and those already suffering from HIV and AIDS. In some
places it is said that food stocks have run out and the local
population are depending on food being brought in from
. The World Food Programme which recently visited two
to assess the situation found that many people were already
surviving on one meal a day.
The situation is worsened by soil erosion, high density of population in
some places, and basic crops such as cassava, maize and bananas
affected by a mosaic virus and
President of Burundi has announced the setting up of a
“solidarity fund” to which Burundians must contribute a
stipulated amount for four months from the end of January 2007.
"The contribution is to be paid by any person engaged in an
income-generating activity [such] as workers, businessmen,
public and private companies as well as heads of households not
living in affected areas," Pierre Nkurunziza said. The
Government is also taking seriously other measures that would
improve the situation long-term, such as the planting of trees
and water harvesting.
Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi is making its own
appeal for support and emergency relief to assist dioceses as
they seek to respond to the crisis, and asks for prayer for
those most affected by the situation.