Burundi

Situation Report

Highlights

  • In the face of flooding, response efforts must continue
  • Underfunding of the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in 2021 limits assistance to the most vulnerable
  • Rising prices of agricultural products may affect the food security of vulnerable populations
  • Integration of national NGOs in the coordination of humanitarian action in Burundi
A young girl is about to fill a bucket with stagnant flood water caused by rising waters in Lake Tanganyika. © OCHA Burundi/A.Ndayiragije
A young girl is about to fill a bucket with stagnant flood water caused by rising waters in Lake Tanganyika. © OCHA Burundi/A.Ndayiragije

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Burundi

Situation Report

Key Figures

12.6M
Population
2.3M
People in need of humanitarian assistance
1.06M
People targeted for assistance in 2021
580K
People assisted in 2020 (65.5%)
2M
Food insecure people (2021)
116K
Internally displaced persons (August 2021)
19,988
COVID-19 cases (as of 25 October)
14
COVID-19 related deaths (as of 25 October)

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Burundi

Situation Report

Funding

$194.7M
Required
$87.8M
Received
45%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Lucien Simba

Deputy Head of Office

Annick Ndayiragije

Public Information Officer

Camille Marquis

Public Information Officer

Burundi

Situation Report
Background
Two children playing in the stagnant flood waters caused by the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika in Bugarama commune, Rumonge province © A.Ndayiragije/OCHA 2021
Two children playing in the stagnant flood waters caused by the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika in Bugarama commune, Rumonge province © A.Ndayiragije/OCHA 2021

In the face of flooding, response efforts must continue

In April and May 2021, rising waters from Lake Tanganyika and the Rusizi River Delta flooded the coastal communities of Bujumbura, Bujumbura Mairie, Makamba and Rumonge provinces. More than 50,000 people were affected by the floods, and of these, 20,000 had to leave their homes. Prior to the floods in Gatumba (April and May 2021), a total of 4,924 people (1,733 households) were still living in displacement sites (Kinyinya II, Maramvya Sobel, Mafubo, Kigaramango). In addition, around 46,000 people were affected, with 18,000 displaced by floods in the April-May floods of 2020 in Bujumbura Province, Gatumba area. According to IOM figures, 10,171 people (2812 households) live in the Gatumba sites (3,702 people in Kinyinya II and 6,469 in Maramvya Sobel and Mafubo) and 1,703 households displaced in Rumonge province, and 657 in Makamba province.

Following the needs assessment conducted in May 2021 by humanitarian partners, in collaboration with Burundi's National Platform for Risk Reduction and Disaster Management, a six-month response plan developed to meet the multisectoral needs identified. The plan includes all sectors of intervention and aims to meet the food needs of displaced people by using cash and distributing agricultural inputs; provide shelter to people who have lost their homes; ensure access to water (including drinking water), hygiene and sanitation (distribution of Water Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) kits) and the construction of emergency latrines. The plan also provides for regular monitoring of the protection of vulnerable people (women, children, people living with disabilities, and the elderly) to promote access to basic social and protection services, including protection against Gender Based Violence (GBV) by paying attention to women and girls and prioritizing assistance to households headed by them. Profiling of displaced people is being validated to better guide and prioritize responses. To date, humanitarian actors have reached 47,338 people (9,468 households), or 72.8% of the 65,000 people (13,000 households) targeted by the response plan.

Multifaceted and multisectoral efforts by the Government of Burundi, humanitarians, the public and private sector, characterized by assistance in kind and cash, has made it possible to accommodate the poorest households, provide food assistance to the affected populations, as well as stabilize the nutritional status of children. Latrines in IDP camps have also been illuminated to reduce the risk of violence, particularly gender-based violence.

The Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2021, guided by the risk analysis conducted in the Humanitarian Needs Overview, anticipated, among other things, the risk of further flooding during the March – May rainy season, and planned activities to mitigate the effects. During the floods in May, the emergency response was constrained by inadequate contingency stocks in intervention areas, as well as lack of funding in HRP which was at 15.3% at the beginning of May with just under $30 million received. The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) provided $1.5 million as part of the "rapid response" framework to address identified needs such as shelter, food assistance, and WASH that were urgent. Other funding, such as DERF (ECHO) and DFID's Start funds, helped to maintain the acceptable level of response.

One of the activities in the relocation response plan, was to build semi-permanent shelters on plots outside risk areas. This is lagging because the plots identified are no longer available. This operation could therefore take time, leading to displaced households remaining on sites longer and develop a dependency on humanitarian aid. The relocation activities are part of the key sustainable solutions that will limit the impacts of possible future floods.

Humanitarian actors have also faced technical challenges and are unable to access drinking water in the Gatumba sites, water pumps in Sobel site and Civil Protection tankers supplying drinking water in Kinyinya II site have also broken down. This has led to displaced persons receiving eight (8) litres of water per day instead of the recommended 15 litres. The efficient and economical solution to the water problems would be connecting to the hydraulic network of the Regideso.

With climate change effects being felt globally, there are concerns that flooding will recur in Burundi in the coming rainy seasons. It is important to prioritize the establishment of early warning mechanisms, and for humanitarian actors to strengthen their preparedness activities to limit the adverse effects of disasters. This should include replenishing of emergency stockpiles to provide immediate response in the event of a large-scale natural disaster.

Humanitarian actors will also need to intensify collaboration with development partners in implementing mitigation measures and to strengthen vulnerable people’s resilience to withstand future shocks. Greater resilience would reduce needs and thus humanitarian assistance. Preventing resettlement in flood-affected areas and establishing durable solution for those assisted should be prioritized and implemented to achieve resilience.

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Burundi

Situation Report
Background
Funding trends as of September between 2018 and 2021
Funding trends as of September between 2018 and 2021

Underfunding of the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in 2021 limits assistance to the most vulnerable

The level of funding for the Burundi Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) relative to needs has never been this low (beginning of September) since 2018. As of September 13, 2021, $37.7 million (19%) of the $195 million required by HRP for 2021 had been received. This is 36% less compared to 2020, when $59 million was received (the funding required was relatively the same - $198 million required in 2020 versus $195 million required in 2021). In July 2020, the funding required by HRP was increased from $114 million to $198million due to the impacts of Covid-19 on the humanitarian situation in the country. The HRP received 45 percent of the required funding, part of which was dedicated to the public health response of Covid-19.

According to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS), 2021, 80 percent of the needs highlighted in the HRP are not funded in the last quarter of the year. Subsequently, a significant number of the 1.06 million people targeted are at risk of not receiving assistance, which will result in postponement and accumulation of needs in the year 2022. As of 30 June 2021, only 354,000 people (33 percent of the target) had received some form of multi-sectoral assistance. If significant funding is to be provided in the last quarter of the year, humanitarian actors would not have sufficient time to implement the activities. In the coming years, it is important that funding is received earlier to enable successful implementation of humanitarian response foreseen in the HRP.

The underfunding of the humanitarian response in Burundi has a significant impact on humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people in the country. According to the Periodic Monitoring of Humanitarian Response (PMR) Report 2020, humanitarian actors were able to assist 524,708 people (65.5 percent of the target) with 45.2 percent of the funds received. Humanitarian actors in certain sectors, such as food security, have had to reduce the ratio to reach as many targeted people as possible.

According to the 2021 funding report in the FTS monitoring system, some sectors face significant underfunding in the last quarter of the year hindering humanitarian response. As of 13 September, only 7 percent of the funds required for WASH activities had been received; 8.2 percent for Shelter/Non-Food Items sector; 4.6 percent for the Protection sector; 17 percent for the Health sector; 47.6 percent for Food Security sector; 55 percent for Nutrition sector and zero percent for education sector. As a result, humanitarian needs in all sectors are likely to continue or even worsen. For example, during the first crop season of 2021, Kirundo experienced a significant water deficit causing the loss of 80 percent of crops in the affected hills, plunging just over 36,000 households into food insecurity. In the coastal areas of Bujumbura and Rumonge provinces, the floods in April and May 2021, destroyed agricultural plots with 68 hectares of crops ruined in Rumonge. Due to lack of funding, the Food Security sector was unable to provide the agricultural input needed to compensate for crop losses in all these areas, and the affected people unable to recover even in the following growing season. As a result, food security needs are likely to persist or even increase due to the lack of funding.

In the health sector, only a few activities planned by the HRP were implemented. For example, 4,612 displaced persons (IDPs) were able to receive health assistance out of the 269,000 projected in the HRP; activities to strengthen early warning or organize awareness-raising campaigns could not be fully implemented; and the medicines contingency stock was not fully constituted. Most of the funding received by the Health sector in 2021, focused on Covid-19 response funds and not projects in the HRP. Other public health emergencies are poorly covered, with Burundi remaining vulnerable to the resurgence of diseases with epidemic potential, such as measles, malaria, and ulcerative wound disease. As a result, it is important to implement the following activities:

(1) Continue the adequate care of IDPs and other vulnerable populations.

(2) Provide psychological care and psychosocial support to the victims.

(3) Continue the implementation of adequate hygiene and sanitation measures (strengthening of Infection Prevention and Control) on IDP sites to avoid the emergence of possible epidemics.

In 2021, plans to respond to a possible flooding were integrated into the HRP (pp. 49-50 and 56) but lack of funds prevented a satisfactory emergency response from being put in place, albeit the needs being anticipated. For example, the HRP 2021 provided for emergency water distributions for the WASH sector, but due to low funding, the sector has only one functional truck serving all needs in Bujumbura province. Low funding can result in limited aid impact and a carry-over of humanitarian needs to the following year. This could lead to more vulnerabilities in people identified as being needy, and those who have received assistance risk developing more vulnerabilities or multiplying them leading to dependency on aid in the medium and long term.

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Burundi

Situation Report
Background

Rising prices of agricultural products may affect the food security of vulnerable populations

Despite, the favorable projections for the agricultural season in Burundi, the beginning of September saw a lack of certain necessities such as sugar, coal, and fuel. The fuel scarcity is beginning to affect the public transport sector with speculation of the transport cost going up. If not addressed these effects will continue into the lean season (October to December 2021) which is often characterized by depletion of food reserves from the second cultural season of 2021 in households, decrease in market stock and increase in market prices of basic food stuff and raw products affecting the most vulnerable. The report on food insecurity and acute malnutrition, published in June 2021, had estimated that 1.04 million people will be food insecure with 56,000 people in the emergency phase (Phase 4 of the classification) by the end September 2021.

The current food situation in the country is still relatively stable, which could be attributed to the 2021B cultivation season whose production was above average. Households have enough crops in the larger part of the country and there are positive impacts because of the new approach in land development and the joint exploitation of land through cooperatives. This is made possible with the increase and availability of cereals whose stocks can cover the period, June to September. Nevertheless, market-dependent households face enormous difficulties in accessing food, given their low-income level (as most rely on agricultural labour) and rising cost of basic foodstuffs. According to data collected by the World Food Programme's (WFP) early warning system, the prices of major foodstuffs continued to rise despite the post-harvest period. In August 2021, the price of beans decreased by 16% in comparison to 2020, this price had increased by 11% compared to the average prices of the last 5 years. The price of corn flour also increased by 31% in August 2021 compared to August 2020 and by 36% compared to the average prices in the last five years.

A research, analyzing sources of income based on data provided by 55 key informants from partners in the field, using the early warning system, showed that 28.9 percent of households (1 in 3.5 households) rely on agricultural labour (AOD) as the main source of subsistence, with work opportunities scarce and low paying. As a result, a household that bought 2.6 kg of beans with a day’s pay in July 2021, bought 2.4 kg of beans in August 2021. The COVID-19 prevention measures also led to a decrease in work opportunities as households could no longer move abroad (Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania) to provide labour as borders were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening of the Tanzania and the DRC borders in June 2021, came with prohibitive cost of undertaking COVID-19 test to cross the border. Burundian traders indicated that border crossing is conditional on rapid screening, whose cost was initially set at 30,000 BIF and then reduced to 15,000 BIF while foreigners currently pay 15 dollars against 30 dollars at the beginning of the opening of the border.

Other factors negatively impacting the different livelihoods include the economic and health impact of COVID-19 on households; the pressure exerted by repatriation flows and returns on fragile resources in areas of return by returnees and returnees; the return of rains that could lead to further flooding and destruction of crops and food stocks; the rise of Lake Tanganyika affecting municipalities which are yet to recover from the March to May 2021 rains; a rainy season with a risk of rainfall deficit as announced by the Regional Meteorological Agency (ICPAC); etc., which could cause household food security to deteriorate further during the lean season. It will not be surprising to see the number of food insecure households (Phase 3 and above) increase in October to December 2021. This is despite the Burundian government's efforts to oversee the sector and the humanitarian response provided by humanitarian actors to save lives.

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Burundi

Situation Report
Coordination

Integration of national NGOs in the coordination of humanitarian action in Burundi

The coordination of humanitarian action in Burundi is undergoing adjustments in line with the changing context. In May 2016, during the Istanbul Summit, major donors committed to increase the budget allocated to people in need and thus improve effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian action. Commitments made during the Summit include 25% of humanitarian funding to be allocated to local organizations to improve vulnerable people response by 2020; strengthen the capacity and coordination of national organizations where they exist and integrate national and local NGOs into humanitarian coordination mechanisms in accordance with humanitarian principles.

So far, six national Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) have submitted their projects to the Project Modules (PAHO) with one of the organizations received funding which represents 0.02 percent of the overall envelope of $USD 195 million requested through the humanitarian response plan. 27 percent of the funds have been allocated to international NGOs and UN agencies with about thirty NGOs accessing funding through their partnerships with United Nations agencies or ENGOs.

The Humanitarian Country Team (EHP) with contribution from OCHA would like to implement one of the summit recommendations through strengthening the participation, representation, and leadership of local and national actors in the conduct of humanitarian operations. Until recently, National NGOs have been implementing partners of either UN Agencies or international NGOs.

Humanitarian coordination in Burundi is anchored on sectoral working groups coordinated by the ministries in charge of the sector and supported and led by UN agencies including OCHA. It is imperative to have a close and effective cooperation between the mechanisms for coordinating humanitarian action and those set up by the Government. This will help in saving lives affected by natural disasters and various conflicts that the country has experienced as well as restore human dignity.

In Burundi, humanitarian coordination is provided by 62 organizations, 26 percent represent national NGOs, compared to 40 percent representing international NGOs and 2 percent represented by the Burundian Red Cross. United Nations entities are represented at 15 per cent, while private organizations occupy 23 per cent. A national NGO co-facilitates the functioning of the Sub-Group on Child Protection. These humanitarian actors face logistical, administrative, and legal constraints while performing their duties. To limit these impacts, there is need to strengthen the capacities of partners and national organizations to have easy access to the population they collaborate with.

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