BURUNDI: UN Humanitarian Information Bulletin 1 - 15 Feb 1999.2.17

BURUNDI: UN Humanitarian Information Bulletin 1 - 15 Feb 1999.2.17

Source: OCHA Burundi

Humanitarian Operations in Burundi

Information Bulletin, 1 - 15 February, 1999

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs


Arusha talks scheduled to resume in March.

The fifth round of Arusha talks are set to resume on 8 March. Should no conclusions be reached within a two week period, a further session would be envisaged for May. After meeting with Burundi's second Vice President of the National Assembly in Cape To wn, the South African Deputy Foreign Minister announced that his country would continue to back the Burundian peace process through diplomatic and financial support and socio-economic reconstruction. South Africa is also facilitating the work of the comm ittees established in Arusha through the provision of two mediators charged with constitutional reform/transitional institutions and cessation of hostilities.

Visit by Inter-Parliamentary Union.

A mission of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an NGO based in Geneva, visited Burundi to prepare a project aiming to strengthen the National Assembly. The NGO's general objectives are to promote democracy and human rights, and strengthen democratic instit utions in developing countries. The EU will be supporting the project worth USD 990,000 which will be used toward infrastructure rehabilitation, the provision of equipment and material, general operational expenses, seminars and participation in the Arus ha talks.

Security situation improves in Bubanza.

The security situation has continued to improve in the province of Bubanza with all communes now accessible to NGOs. IRC staff are once again spending the night at their field office in the provincial capital instead of commuting daily to and from Bujumb ura.

Humanitarian Activities

UNHCR statistics on returnees and refugees.

According to latest data obtained from UNHCR, as of 31 January 1999, a total of 321,792 refugees remain outside of Burundi, the vast majority (298,824) in eight camps in Tanzania (108,053 in Ngara and 180,771 in the Kigoma and Kibondo areas). A total of 203,308 Burundian refugees have returned since 1996, while 5,079 Burundian refugees fled to Tanzania between August 1998 and 10 February 1999 . Only 168 Congolese refugees from South Kivu were registered in Cibitoke province in January, the lowest figure since the influx started in early August 1998. After a surprise verification exercise, carried out on 1 February, it was found that only 425 Congolese refugees remain at Rugombo site, while some 200 Burundian returnees remain at the Buganda site. Overa ll, UNHCR has assisted the reintegration of 6,217 Burundian returnees who had arrived from South Kivu since August last year.

Provincial coordination meetings.

Following the nomination of provincial focal points by the Contact Group, the forum bringing together the main humanitarian actors in Burundi, provincial coordination meetings are increasingly being organised. The provincial focal points are NGOs who tak e on a responsibility for facilitating information exchange among NGO and UN agencies working in the same province. One task is to organise regular coordination meetings in close collaboration with the provincial authorities. A coordination meeting, cha ired by the Governor, took place in Cibitoke on 2 February at which it was decided to hold monthly sectoral meetings, particularly in health, and a general meeting every two months. The meetings are organised by the local authorities in collaboration wit h the provincial focal point, the NGO Concern. On 4 February, a coordination meeting was held in Kirundo also chaired by the Governor. The meeting was jointly organised by the Governor and the Norwegian Refugee Council, which is the provincial focal poi nt for the province. As in Cibitoke, a general meeting will be held every two months, while sub-committees dealing with water and construction were set up in order to provide much needed coordination in these sectors. A provincial coordination meeting f or Bururi, organised by the Austrian Help Programme, focal point for the province, took place at the OCHA office in Bujumbura on 12 February.

FAO response to drought situation.

In preparation for a country wide seed distribution, FAO has been holding a series of coordination meetings bringing together all distribution partners to discuss the identification of the most drought-affected households. A total of 185,774 households h ave been identified to benefit from 2,813 MT of bean seeds, 1,858 kg of vegetable seeds and 11,200 hoes (the latter in Gitega and Ngozi provinces only). The Belgian Government has donated USD 676,000 toward the purchase of 1,300 MT of seeds, while OFDA h as contributed USD 180,000 for the programme. The seed distribution will start in the week of 15-21 February 1999.

Efforts to coordinate approach to reconstruction of houses in Bujumbura town.

UNOPS has organised a series of meetings among partners involved in the reconstruction of houses in Bujumbura town with a view to harmonising the approach among UN agencies and NGOs. The main objective was to discuss and agree upon common criteria for th e selection of beneficiaries. This will allow for a uniform approach towards authorities and a more equitable distribution of activities. It was further agreed that reinstallation should be entirely voluntary and should only take place in areas where ca lm and stability have returned. The activities should be implemented in participation with the affected communities and should contribute toward restoring a harmonious social fabric, while giving priority the most vulnerable.

Tripartite meeting to take place in Arusha.

UNHCR will be participating in a tripartite meeting with Tanzanian and Burundian authorities, taking place early March in Arusha. The meeting follows a similar initiative that took place in Mwanza last year. The objective will be to discuss the facilita tion of the return of the approximately 300,000 refugees still living in Tanzania (see above).

Visit of USG for Children in Armed Conflict.

The visit of the Under-Secretary General for Children in Armed Conflict, Mr. Olara Otunno, has been postponed to 24 to 28 February (see last week's bulletin).

Some displaced return in Makamba.

It is believed that some of the up to 30,000 recently displaced have been able to return to their homes but precise information is not yet available. WFP will undertake an assessment commencing 16 February in order to verify IDP numbers and to establish food requirements. A mission of the Office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Burundi travelled to Makamba from 26 to 28 January to investigate the recent clashes between rebels and armed forces. The mission was able to visit t he communes of Makamba, Mabanda and Kibago where they met with civil and military authorities, as well as with IDP populations and people wounded by the recent fighting.

Results of Gitega anthropometric and health survey.

Oxfam Great Britain carried out an anthropometric survey in Gitega province in November 1998 in follow-up to a survey carried out in January 1998. The objectives were to estimate the prevalence of acute malnutrition in children aged 6 to 59 months in all of Gitega province, to estimate the crude mortality rate for under fives and the entire population and to estimate the measles vaccination coverage. Results revealed that the global malnutrition rate had fallen from 23.8% to 12.9% in the northern part o f the province and from 13.3% to 8.3% in the south. Severe malnutrition had fallen from 6.5% to 2% in the north and from 5.7% to 1.4% in the south. Crude mortality rates were estimated at 0.67/10,000/day in the north for under fives and 0.57/10,000/day for the total population. In the south it was estimated at 1.23/10,000/day for under fives and 0.79/10,000/day for the total population. Measles vaccination coverage was determined to be 63% in the north and 64% in the south. Oxfam advised that althoug h the malnutrition rate has declined, nutritional feeding and food security activities should continue especially since the months to follow were considered a "lean period" and malnutrition figures could rise again. Oxfam supports and supervises suppleme ntary feeding programmes in 13 public health centres and 2 church run centres. The NGO is also establishing a community outreach screening programme. A further anthropometric survey will be conducted in March 1999.

AHP nutritional study in Bururi.

Austrian Help Programme has completed a nutritional study in Bururi. The results should be available by the end of the month.

WFP distributions.

In January, WFP distributed 1,458 MT of food aid to 138,268 beneficiaries, mainly IDPs, in eight provinces. Most distributions took place in Bubanza, Bujumbura rural and Kayanza. WFP also provided 360 MT of food aid to nutritional feeding programmes and 500 MT to nearly 23,000 beneficiaries participating in food for work programmes.


The bulletin dated 18 December to 3 January mentioned the arrival of the NGO "Avocats sans Frontières" (Lawyers without Borders). The French Government is supporting this project with FrFr one million to finance the work of the Burundian lawyers.

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 Burundiri.

Austrian Help Programme has completed a nutritional ail:

Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 11:26:36 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: BURUNDI: UN Humanitarian Information Bulletin 1 - 15 Feb 1999.2.17

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar,