BURUNDI: UN Humanitarian Information Bulletin 18-31 Jan 1999.2.4

BURUNDI: UN Humanitarian Information Bulletin 18-31 Jan 1999.2.4

Humanitarian Operations in Burundi

Information Bulletin, 18 - 31 January, 1999

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs


Burundi sanctions suspended

On Saturday 23 January 1999, East and Central African leaders, meeting in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, suspended economic sanctions imposed on Burundi on 31 July 1996. The move followed the 7th Regional Summit on Burundi, which was called to re view the political situation in Burundi and the progress in the peace negotiations. The Summit was briefed by the mediator Mwalimu Nyerere and Burundi's President Buyoya on the progress made to date. The Regional leaders evaluated the recent development s as positive. The Ugandan President Museveni said that the "regional leaders have unanimously agreed that the sanctions should be suspended, not removed." This would imply that if the peace talks fail, sanctions could be re-imposed. The move was welco med by the UN, OAU and governments world wide.

With the sanctions suspended, regional trade with Burundi can resume as normal. The Tanzanian President Mkapa announced that Tanzania's border had been opened with immediate effect and called on business people to resume trade with Burundi as soon as pos sible.

Fourth round of Arusha talks continue

The fourth round of the Arusha talks began on 18 January 1999, behind closed doors. The mediator Julius Nyerere called upon the 18 delegations present to conclude a peace accord between that day and June 1999 and not to "unnecessarily prolong the process ." During the opening session, several representatives demanded the liberation of political prisoners and the participation of armed groups not yet represented, referring to the CNDD-FDD. The CNDD-FDD, which does not recognise Nyangoma as CNDD leader, i s not formally included in the Arusha talks. During the second day the reconstruction and economic development of Burundi were discussed. Other themes, which were discussed in separate working groups, were the nature of the conflict, peace and security and democracy and good governance. The meeting closed on 31 January 1999

Flights to Bujumbura

Shortly after the regional sanctions were suspended, Kenya Airways announced that from 9 February till 23 March 1999, it will also fly to and from Bujumbura on Tuesdays. This flight will be in addition to its existing Friday flight. Ethiopian Airlines m ade its inaugural flight on Saturday 30 January 1999. Cameroon Airlines will resume flights on 4 February 1999, while Alliance will start flying to Bujumbura on 7 February 1999. Air Tanzania Corporation announced that it plans to resume flights to Bujum bura as of next month. European airlines have not yet announced the resumption of flights.

Visit of Under-Secretary General for Children in Armed Conflict

The Under-Secretary General for Children in Armed Conflict, Olara Utunnu is scheduled to visit Burundi from 24-28 February 1999. During his visit he will look into the targeting of children in armed conflict, recruitment of children into the army or rebe llion, the impact of the crisis on children and means to introduce the plight of Burundi's children at the Arusha negotiations.

Humanitarian Activities

Inter agency assessment mission to Makamba IDPs

Following reports of displacement of up to 33,000 people, following armed clashes in the southern province of Makamba, a NGO/inter-agency mission lead by IRC conducted an assessment of the affected areas on 22-23 January 1999. The IDPs had been gathered on ten sites in Makamba town and in the communes of Kibago and Mabanda. The Governor indicated that most of the IDPs might be able to return home over the next two weeks. Most IDPs had left their homes in an organised fashion and were able to bring some food stocks with them. The mission therefore advised that non-food items such as blankets, sheeting and soap should be provided to the most vulnerable. On 27 January 1999, IFRC sent down a truck loaded with 6 MT of soap and 500 blankets to help the mos t vulnerable IDPs. MSF has distributed plastic sheeting and medicine, while IRC has repaired water systems on the sites sheltering the IDPs. WFP will re-evaluate the need for food assistance in two weeks time.

Inter agency assessment mission to IDPs at Mutambu, Bujumbura Rural.

On 22 January 1999, a NGO/inter-agency mission visited the Karinzi IDP site in Mutambu commune in Bujumbura Rural, which had not been accessible earlier due to security constraints. The mission was accompanied by the Governor's chief advisor and the mili tary commander of the area. According to the local authorities 6,878 people were staying at the site. Most IDPs were displaced since early December 1998, while some had been displaced since July 1998. The IDPs on the site were living in very basic circ umstances, only sheltered by dwellings made of wood and leaves, while others spent the night in a school. As they had to leave their homes at short notice they had not been able to bring many of their belongings with them. The IDPs had limited access to their fields and were able to harvest when accompanied by a military escort. They were not able to cultivate crops and food stocks were running out. The mission concluded that assistance should be rendered as soon as possible. To that effect, a WFP/CA RE team did a population verification exercise on 28 January 1999, which confirmed the figures provided by the local authorities. Following this exercise it was decided that food rations and non food items would be distributed on 2 February 1999.

FAO prepares for distribution

Following a drought that has affected Burundi's agricultural sector, FAO held a coordination meeting on 27 January 1999 with partner NGOs in order to plan for a seeds distribution for the upcoming agricultural season. The meeting discussed selection cri teria to be used in the identification of the beneficiaries. Due to the drought the number of families in need of assistance has doubled. In addition to the 94,000 vulnerable families already targeted by FAO, it is estimated that more than 90,000 famili es, which were affected by the recent drought, are also in need of assistance. In order to adequately address these urgent needs, FAO has requested donors (ECHO, Belgium, Germany and OFDA) to help raise funds for emergency coordination. The seed distrib ution of FAO is aimed at promoting food self-sufficiency and reducing need for food assistance.

Avocats Sans Frontières in Burundi

Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) Belgium and France have established a project called "Justice for all in Burundi". Its main aim is to provide judicial assistance to those being prosecuted for crimes committed in relation to the 1993 political crisis. ASF also aims to contribute to the right to judicial defence and better justice in general. ASF regards respect for human rights essential to establishing peace and national reconciliation in Burundi. A partnership agreement has been signed with the bar ass ociation of Bujumbura aiming to establish a committee that will ensure a fair sharing of cases between expatriate and local lawyers participating in the project. ASF's mission comprises one expatriate administrator and three lawyers from Niger, Mali and Belgium. ASF expect a French lawyer to join its team in February.

Gitega Household Food Economy Update

SCF-UK and Oxfam-GB published the results of their Household Food Economy survey, which was undertaken in November 1998. The main aim of this assessment was to identify the major changes in the life of the rural population of Gitega Province, and to unde rstand the impact of these changes on the ability of the rural population to meet their food and other needs. Access to health care was also studied.

Norwegian Refugee Council in Burundi

Since 1997, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is working in Kirundo province, while activities have started in neighbouring Ngozi province in August 1998. In Kirundo province, NRC is mainly undertaking reconstruction of houses and rehabilitation of pub lic infrastructure, such as hospital, schools, water supply systems and roads. In 1998, NRC provided roofing, doors, windows and technical assistance for the construction of 1,227 houses in Kirundo province. The construction was done by the beneficiarie s themselves. NRC also carried out three large water projects, involving the laying of 65 km of water piping and water reservoirs and taps. An estimated 67,000 people are expected to have benefited from this activity. The airstrip in Kirundo was also r ehabilitated by NRC.

Dorcas Aid in Burundi

Dorcas Aid International is a Dutch relief and development organisation, which has working in Burundi since 1994. Since August 1998, Dorcas Aid is registered in Burundi as an independent NGO and is no longer working under the umbrella of the Internationa l Bible Society. Dorcas Aid is executing an emergency seed multiplication programme.


The Information Bulletin, dated 4-17 January 1999, neglected to mention CARE's significant contribution towards ensuring the smooth food distribution that took place at Kabezi on 13 January 1999. CARE is WFP's main partner in Burundi and handles a substa ntial percentage of all general distribution of WFP commodities in the country. While WFP and CARE collaborate closely in the planning and implementation of every distribution, the distribution at Kabezi was carried out 100% by CARE teams on a family by family basis. It was the single largest food distribution undertaken in one day and under difficult circumstances , given the size of the population served, the volume of food distributed and the political/security constraints encountered.

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: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 16:03:58 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: BURUNDI: UN Humanitarian Information Bulletin 18-31 Jan 1999.2.4

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar,