Close to the border of Democratic Republic of Congo lies Gatumba, a region in western Burundi near the capital city of Bujumbura. Recently heavy rains, amplified by the El Niño effect, caused the river Rusizi to burst its banks. The results were serious for nearby communities.
In total, 755 homes were affected by the flooding in June: it washed away houses, destroyed livelihoods and caused enormous difficulty for those attempting to travel by road to safety.
"We have lost everything in the flood”
Solange Nijimbere’s home was among the most vulnerable households situated on the edge of the marshes. Surrounded by her two young daughters at the refugee camp that they now call home, she recounts the first day of flooding:
“[The] water level rose up to our beds, my husband [Désiré] and I were trying to save our possessions by bailing out the water using a bucket.”
Gradually, the growing flood undermined the structure of their two-bedroom mud house until sadly their home and surrounding cassava fields were deluged by the heavy flood waters. Important documents, such as their birth certificates, were lost. All chances of maintaining their livelihood were shattered.
“We have lost everything in this flood, we were forced to leave our village where we could not live anymore to come to this camp,” said Solange.
Concern, in co-ordination with other NGOs is responding to the needs of families like Solange’s by providing shelter, food and non-food item kits. Through the START network (a multi-donor pooled rapid response fund supporting a network of NGOs who respond to emergencies), and Concern general donations, we were able to distribute 755 non-food item kits to displaced households to compensate for the loss of their household items.
These kits contain covers, mosquito nets, buckets, clothes, kitchen sets and solar lamps. Having lost her home, belongings and livelihood, Solange was relieved to receive this kit and is thankful to Concern and our donors for the help she received.
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