BURUNDI: OCHA-Burundi Information bulletin 1-15 May [19990518]

BURUNDI: OCHA-Burundi Information bulletin 1-15 May [19990518]

Humanitarian Operations in Burundi

Information Bulletin, 1 - 15 May 1999

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs


Arusha talks resume The Arusha peace process resumed on 11 May with committees expected to deliberate for two weeks. According to the mediator, this most recent round of talks is to focus more on actual negotiations rather than on "political thinking". The participation of refugee representatives will also be discussed. The GOB has indicated that it will support the presence of the CNDD/FDD at the talks since the conflict cannot be resolved without their involvement. The FDD in turn announced that it is not opposed to negotiations and is prepared to participate in order to attain a negotiated political solution and a suspension of hostilities.

President Buyoya travels to Tanzania On 9 May, President Buyoya travelled to Tanzania to discuss the peace process with his counterpart Benjamin Mkapa and mediator Julius Nyerere. The issue of border security was addressed in light of the recent increase in cross-border attacks, specifically in Makamba and Ruyigi. During the discussions Nyerere indicated that the FDD, the armed wing of the CNDD, would be invited to the next round of talks (they had thus far been excluded). He also assuaged Burundian concern over talks recently held in Moshi, Tanzania from 2 to 8 May, which had been mainly attended by opposition parties. Nyerere explained that the talks were held to find a common position among the parties in an effort to facilitate and expedite the peace process. The meeting had been criticised by some Burundians for promoting ethnic polarisation.

Independent reports issued on Burundi International Crisis Group, a think tank based in Brussels, has in its most recent report on Burundi criticised the fact that the signing of a peace accord has become a prerequisite for the resumption of bilateral aid. ICG advocates that development and, in particular, support to economic reform, should instead occur in tandem with the peace process. The report also argues that the present timetable for Arusha, i.e. the signing of an accord by June, is not realistic and that it would not be valid since the armed wing of the rebellion has not been included in the talks. Meanwhile a separate report prepared by an analyst working for US NGO Search for Common Ground and the Centre for Conflict Resolution in Cape Town hailed the "vast strides towards all-inclusive negotiations" made in the Burundi peace process over the past three years and emphasised that Burundi's efforts at reaching a negotiated settlement stood out in a region otherwise still very much embroiled in armed conflict. The report urged the international community to continue providing support towards the internal and external process.

Iteka voices concern over increase in insecurity in some areas On 6 May, the Burundian human rights league Iteka issued a statement expressing concern over the increase in violence in Bujumbura rural, Makamba and Ruyigi. Particularly the attacks launched from the Tanzanian side were hampering efforts being made in the peace process. Iteka called for an immediate cease-fire and the respect for human rights especially concerning civilians. Iteka urged those parties involved in the peace process to prove their good will and called upon the Burundian and Tanzanian Governments to enter into discussions with UNHCR to ensure that the international convention on refugees was being respected.

Attack on Kabezi TFC In the night from 1 to 2 May, a therapeutic feeding centre run by the Italian NGO GVC was attacked by a group of rebels. Food and drugs from a nearby health centre were stolen along with some 45 cows. Four military were killed and seven injured during the attack. The Humanitarian Coordinator visited the area on 3 May.

Army worm infestation reaches Burundi The army worm infestation that affected Rwanda has spread into Kirundo, Muyinga and Ruyigi provinces and threatens to severely reduce agricultural production. A FAO assessment mission estimated that approximately 20,000 ha had already been infested. The worms primarily destroy wheat, rice, maize, millet, and sorghum. Although Burundian authorities dispatched 19 MT of insecticide, the quantity is insufficient since it can only cover 1,900 ha. Kirundo had already been badly affected by drought during the last agricultural season.

Retreat on Common Country Assessment (CCA) Heads of Agencies gathered on 26 and 27 April to discuss the formulation of the CCA, a common analysis of key themes such as demography, the political situation and the peace process, human rights and the administration of justice, the socio-economic situation, food security, access to basic services and reinstallation. The CCA will serve as a starting point for a discussion later this year of common UN strategies and operational priorities in Burundi.

Humanitarian Activities

WFP/UNICEF continue collaboration in nutrition sector WFP provided 1,014 MT of food commodities in response to UNICEF's second quarter request for feeding programmes. The food will meet the needs of a total of 48,830 beneficiaries in 196 SFCs and 3,358 beneficiaries in 38 TFCs as well as 3,139 accompanying family members and 845 patients in 9 hospitals. The feeding programmes are implemented through a variety of NGO partners across the country.

Christian Aid to evaluate impact of seeds and tools distribution Christian Aid will be conducting a week-long participatory rural appraisal 'training of trainers' workshop in Ruyigi province from 24 to 28 May. The effort, supported by FAO and attended by 30 participants from 15 provinces, seeks to gather quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate seeds and tools distributions. Teams of three to four people will be charged with the collection of data over a period of one month to seek information on, for instance, average daily food consumption, access to land, changes in malnutrition rates, etc. Beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries from each colline in every commune will be targeted. Partners include the National Council of Churches, the local agricultural authorities (DPAE) and NGO partners such as Concern, CARE, FOCSIV, GVC, CRS, IRC, Dorcas, TearFund, SolidaritÈs and World Vision. ActionAid will be providing the venue for the workshop. Christian Aid will present the final analysis at the end of August.

Results from SolidaritÈs nutritional survey in Muramvya and Mwaro Results from a nutritional survey carried out by SolidaritÈs in February in Muramvya and Mwaro provinces revealed the following malnutrition rates for children aged 6 to 59 months: 1.5% severe, 9.5% moderate, 11% global. The mortality rate was found to be 0.53/10,000/day. SolidaritÈs has been running a feeding programme in 9 SFCs and 1 TFC in this area since January 1997.

IRC assesses new camps in Makamba An IRC team visited three newly created IDP camps in Makamba's Kayogoro commune. The camps, Nyantakara, Gatwe and Mugeni house some 12,000 IDPs. IRC will improve the water supply at Nyantakara and monitor sanitary conditions. Some 2,500 pieces of plastic sheeting will be distributed (1,500 provided by CRS, 800 from MSF and 125 from IRC). Memisa is providing health services to the camps while WFP/CARE are distributing food.

UNHCR update According to latest data received from UNHCR, a total of 489,658 Burundians continue to live outside the country, 457,000 alone in Tanzania of which 200,000 constitute old caseload refugees who had arrived in the 1970s and have integrated into local communities. 30,000 refugees remain in DRC while the rest are spread in smaller numbers in Rwanda, Zambia, Kenya, Congo Brazzaville, Angola, Malawi and Cameroon. As of 31 March, 195,640 Burundians had returned since 1996 (114,558 from DRC, 75,501 from Tanzania and 5,581 from Rwanda). The provinces with the highest number of refugees still in Tanzania include Muyinga (54,585), Makamba (46,303), Ruyigi (34,030), Kirundo (28,302) and Karuzi (20,446).

CRS activities Catholic Relief Services, CRS, has completed construction of 393 of 400 houses as part of its community reintegration project which also included the construction of 182 latrines. The next phase envisages the construction of 1,500 to 2,000 houses in Gitega, Muramvya, Muyinga and Ruyigi provinces. CRS also continued with its non-food distributions and in April reached 20,325 beneficiaries in Bubanza, Bujumbura, Gitega, Karuzi and Ruyigi.

This bulletin is prepared by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Bujumbura, Burundi. It is compiled from input received from humanitarian organisations working in Burundi. Tel: (257) 218034 or 219157/8 Fax: (257) 218035 E-mail:

Item: irin-extra-174

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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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