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Burundi: Floods and Landslides - Apr 2020

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Torrential rains, violent winds, landslides, and floods that occurred between 13 and 19 April have caused devastation in Cibitoke, Bubanza, and Bujumbura Rural provinces. On 19 April, according to local authorities, 27,972 people were displaced due to the Ruzizi river overflowing into six districts of Gatumba in Mutimbuzi Commune (Bujumbura Rural province). 6,010 houses were flooded, severely damaged or destroyed. Strong winds, torrential rains, and landslides have affected a total of 813 people in Rumonge province (715) and Bubanza province (98), the majority of whom are now displaced. The damage toll is still rising as flooded houses continue to collapse. (OCHA, 22 Apr 2020)

In affected provinces, up to 160 homes were destroyed and 70 partially damaged, alongside 7,600 inundated in Mutimbuzi commune. Heavy and above-average rainfall is anticipated to continue until mid-May, potentially increasing displacement and testing coping capacity. Capacity to provide aid may be restricted throughout the upcoming rains, particularly as elections in May may divert government attention and resources. If flood water is untreated and people cannot access safe water, cholera and malaria may further spread. (ACAPS, 1 May 2020)

Over 2,100 victims of severe flooding and mudslides in Burundi are receiving help from IOM, the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Weeks of torrential rain have hit Burundi affecting 45,000 people and sweeping away thousands of homes and businesses, leaving 18,000 people newly displaced. Three large displacement sites for victims have emerged around Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, where thousands are living in temporary or makeshift accommodations. There are concerns the new displacement sites could increase their risk of contracting COVID-19, due to their overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. IOM under the coordination of OCHA, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and other UN agencies here are moving to reduce risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 during distributions of shelter, hygiene kits, and other types of emergency support. (IOM, 29 May 2020)

Flooding has destroyed thousands of hectares of crops that were ready for harvest (mainly pulses and cereals), depriving the locals of essential food stocks for the coming year. With over 80 per cent of the population reliant on subsistence farming, already vulnerable communities will likely suffer a difficult lean season due to insufficient harvests, as well as increased market prices. (OCHA, 12 June 2020)