New floods in Burundi displace thousands of families

NAIROBI, Kenya – A week of flooding has displaced thousands of families in a part of western Burundi, where a river separates the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a local official said Wednesday.

More than 4,000 families living in Gatumba village were displaced by the floods, Mutimbuzi District Chief Administrator Simeon Butoyi said. Some said they spent the nights in the cold.

Judith Nibigira, a villager who sells fish to support her four children, said she was devastated.

“My house has been destroyed. It was built by a benefactor who lives abroad,” he said.

A local community leader, Lucie Gahimbare, said that every rainy season produces such losses when the Rusizi River overflows.

“Even the kids are used to it. This is the third time in a row in three years,” he said.

Western Burundi is facing flooding from what experts say is abnormal rainfall in the region near Lake Tanganyika, home to 800,000 people. In the past, humanitarian agencies have been alarmed by the significant rise in water levels.

In March, a polio epidemic was declared in Mutimbuzi district, the first time the disease has been reported in the country in 30 years.

The floods have forced nearly 40,000 people to move to Gatumba camps in the past three years. At least 7,000 more people have moved from Gatumba to safer areas, according to a Burundian government report issued before the latest floods.

Brigadier General Anicet Nibaruta, who heads civil protection and disaster management, said the camp’s residents could be moved to neighboring Rumonge province and Bujumbura’s Kabezi district.

Nibaruta told reporters on Tuesday that the government was working to deal with perennial flooding by seeking money to build dikes to prevent the Rusizi River from overflowing.

Source link

Related Posts

Next Post