BURUNDI: UN OCHA Information Bulletin 4-17 Jan 1999

BURUNDI: UN OCHA Information Bulletin 4-17 Jan 1999

Source: OCHA Burundi

Humanitarian Operations in Burundi

Information Bulletin, 4 - 17 January, 1999

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs


New round of Arusha talks set to begin. On 18 January, the fourth round of the Arusha peace process is scheduled to resume. The talks, foreseen to last through 28 January, were preceded by preliminary contacts in Burundi undertaken by a delegation from the Julius Nyerere foundation during a three day visit from 4 to 6January. The officials met with President Buyoya, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the two vice presidents, the Minister of the Peace Process and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The mission reviewed the possibility of opening a liaison office in the capital. In a separate development, the armed wing of the CNDD/FDD led by Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukkye may join the Arusha talks. The dissident rebel faction had so far been excluded.

Regional meeting on Burundi. Regional leaders are scheduled to meet in Arusha from 21 to 23 January to discuss the situation in Burundi and the possible lifting or, at least, suspension of the embargo. On 22 January, a separate summit of Central and Eas t African states, including Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, will take place.

Donor meeting in NY. In follow-up to a meeting that took place in Ottawa last August, key donors met in NY on 11 and 12 January. The meeting, organised by the UN Department of Political Affairs and UNDP with support from the Canadian Government, was als o attended by a Burundian delegation and Julius Nyerere. The latter briefed participants on progress made in the peace process and informed of further resources required to continue the talks. He also indicated that he would recommend that the economic embargo be suspended. A further objective of the meeting was to mobilise support for community-based activities and discuss the gradual resumption of development assistance. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Burundi used the opportunity to present a b roadened community assistance programme that would complement and help strengthen the peace process at grass-roots level. The representative of UNHCR made a presentation on the reintegration of refugees and the Representatives of FAO and WFP also attende d the meeting.

President of National Assembly in Washington. The President of the National Assembly, Leonce Ngendakumana, proceeded to Washington after having briefed the Security Council in NY on 12 January. Meetings were held, amongst others, with Assistant Secretar y of State for Africa, Susan Rice, the congressional sub committee charged with Africa and US Special Envoy Howard Wolpe.

Second Vice President travels to Kenya. Burundi's second vice president, Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, travelled to Kenya for a two day visit on 11 January to meet with President Moi to discuss the lifting of sanctions.

Burundi human rights group condemns killings. On 6 January, the Burundi human rights league ITEKA issued a statement condemning the killing of more than 300 civilians during a three month period from October to December. Most of the killings, alleged to be perpetrated by both military and rebel forces, occurred mainly in the conflict-ridden areas of Bujumbura rural, Bururi and Bubanza. ITEKA underlined that condemnation of the killings was not sufficient as they needed to be followed with judicial acti on at internal and international level to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. ITEKA appealed to the international community and the UN Security Council to not allow impunity in face of violence against the civilian population.

ActionAid report on sanctions. A report on sanctions prepared by the British NGO ActionAid indicates that the embargo on Burundi should have been lifted at the time the Government established the political partnership with the opposition. The report str essed that humanitarian exemptions did not sufficiently ease the situation of the most vulnerable who remain affected by prices that are two and three times as high as before the imposition of the embargo. The report also added that it had become difficu lt to differentiate between the impact of the embargo on the economy and the impact of other factors such as the prolonged crisis.

Insecurity in Bujumbura rural continues. Insecurity continues in Bujumbura rural, in particular in Kabezi commune where the Chef de Secteur of Mubone was assassinated the night from 11 to 12 January. The Chef de Colline of Gaza was kidnapped.

Humanitarian Activities

Food distribution finally takes place in Kabezi. After having encountered repeated problems with access and beneficiary lists, on 8 January, WFP was able to undertake a distribution to 26,000 people who received a fifteen day ration consisting of beans, maize and salt. A strong international presence ensured that the distribution took place as planned. On 11 January, 18,000 recently displaced were assisted by WFP at Mubone.

WFP assistance in December. During the month of December, WFP distributed 1,544 mt in ad-hoc rations to 153,684 beneficiaries, 102 mt in transit rations to 8,766 people and 61 mt in return packages to 1,187 people. In addition, 9,527 benefited from food for work projects.

UNICEF strategy meeting. On 13 January UNICEF held a meeting with all ministry partners to present their strategy for 1999 and the year 2000 in the sectors of health, education, water and sanitation and unaccompanied children.

Second round of national vaccination days. The second round of national vaccination days against polio took place from 13 to 15 January. The first round took place from December 15 to 17. All children countrywide under the age of five were targeted. T he campaign is being supported by WHO and UNICEF.

Second TFC to be constructed in Bubanza. ACF is to begin construction of its second therapeutic feeding centre in Bubanza, located in the southern commune of Mpanda. The centre will primarily cater to beneficiaries who so far have sought assistance in t he Maramvya TFC in Bujumbura rural. Construction for the new centre which will have a capacity for 400 patients will begin in mid-January.

UAC transit centre in Bubanza to be closed. The transit centre for unaccompanied children in Bubanza will be closed by the end of January as homes have been found for all of the children. The centre had been established to assist a growing number of una ccompanied children that were being identified at the Maramvya TFC. The centre was run by CAD with support from UNICEF.

Cibitoke refugees. The total number of Congolese refugees in Cibitoke now stands at 3,464 people. All refugees have been moved from Ruhagarika and Buganda to one site at Rugombo. 115 Burundian returnees also remain, the majority of which will be assist ed to return to their original homes.

World Vision to start new programme in Cibitoke. World Vision will implement a new health programme in Cibitoke. It will consist primarily of assistance to the hospital and the provision of training to health staff.

ACF to launch nutritional survey in Kayanza. ACF will undertake a nutritional survey in Kayanza to monitor the nutritional status of children under five. Attention will also be paid to malnutrition among adults and food security.

Christian Aid holds meeting to improve coordination. Christian Aid held a meeting with the emergency department of the Burundian National Council of Churches (CNEB) that was attended by 36 coordinators. The distribution of seeds and tools, transport and collaboration with focal points was discussed. The coordinators are nominated by nine churches which are members of CNEB.

Returnee update. According to UNHCR statistics, 202,757 people (including expelled populations) have returned to Burundi from 1996 through December 1998 (79,245 from Tanzania, 114,937 from DRC, 8,575 from Rwanda). In 1998, 23,768 returned (14,763 from Tanzania, 8,024 from DRC and 981 from Rwanda).

UNDP community assistance programme. UNDP is implementing a two year programme to assist local communities in collaboration with NGO partners, civil society and sister agencies. Approximately 800,000 beneficiaries in rural communities are targeted. The project, worth USD 11 million will contribute to social cohesion and the consolidation of peace by providing rural communities with the means to regain self sufficiency and increase their access to social services through strengthening of local capacitie s. The project, based on a participatory approach, will also facilitate the return of formerly displaced in 20 communes. It is hoped that this initiative will attract donor support in the coming months.

Oxfam Quebec support to UAC. Oxfam Quebec, through its offices in Gitega and Ruyigi is working to help re-unify returned unaccompanied children with parents or relatives. If neither can be traced, foster families are found. Oxfam also identifies and as sists particularly vulnerable people, such as the elderly, children with mental problems or physically handicapped. The UAC programme was started in March 1998 in collaboration with UNHCR and local authorities. Oxfam has registered 240 UAC in Ruyigi alo ne; 118 cases have been closed, 122 cases remain open.

SCF programme. Save the Children UK, which has been in Burundi since 1996, works primarily in the health sector in Muramvya and Gitega provinces where it assists nine and fifteen health centres, respectively. SCF also works closely with the Ministry of Social Action and UNICEF to coordinate tracing activities for UAC. SCF also seeks to ensure improved food security and is supporting WFP with the placement of a technical advisor.

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:

Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 10:12:48 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: BURUNDI: UN OCHA Information Bulletin 4-17 Jan 1999.1.22

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar,