Flood in Burundi: “It’s a catastrophe and no one in Germany notices it”

You can see a house that is completely surrounded by water. A woman walks over a plank to the entrance.

In Gatumba, Burundi, over 100.000 people have lost their homes due to flooding. ©Niko Zalac

  • Torrential rains that have been going on for months are causing severe damage in Burundi.
  • Starvation among the population continues to worsen.
  • STELP provides emergency aid and, together with the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ), helps dealers with reconstruction.

Burundi. Torrential rain and severe flooding are currently causing devastating damage in Burundi. Hundreds of thousands of people had to leave their homes, streets, fields and entire cities are under water.

STELP founder Serkan Eren is currently on site with a team and is providing immediate assistance. “It has been raining for months and now everything is under water. Almost no field can be cultivated here anymore. People are currently losing their entire livelihood. It’s a catastrophe and no one in Germany notices it,” says Eren.

Almost two thirds of the population in Burundi live below the poverty line. Most people are involved in agriculture and grow legumes, corn, bananas or sweet potatoes. Even before the flood disaster, a large part of the population was malnourished or undernourished. Now the situation is getting worse.

The 40-year-old and his team are currently distributing food parcels. In addition, STELP supports retailers in rebuilding their businesses with the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) and the local partners Fondation Stamm and Kaz'O'zah. Ange Muyubira, managing director of Kaz'O'zah in Bujumbura, describes the situation as follows: “In Gatumba and neighboring regions alone, over 100.000 people have lost their homes and livelihoods due to the floods. The packages provide quick support to those directly affected; At the same time, around 100 families can use the start-up capital to build a new livelihood in a place protected from floods.”
The incessant rain has caused the water level of Lake Tanganyika to rise significantly and the Kanyosha River to overflow. “The water has now reached Burundi’s economic capital, Bujumbura. The flood has brought entire parts of the country to a standstill,” Eren explains further. “In this catastrophe of unprecedented proportions, we are happy to be working with an energetic organization like STELP. Now it’s important to listen carefully to the local partners in order to overcome the situation together,” says Philipp Keil, Managing Director of the SEZ.

According to climate experts, the floods are related to the El Niño weather phenomenon and are a direct result of climate change. Burundi, one of the countries that has contributed the least to climate change, is bearing the brunt of the consequences. Poor land use also plays a role. Many fields and houses were built in areas at risk of flooding. Baden-Württemberg and Burundi have had friendly relations since the 1980s. The official partnership agreement between the two regions was signed in 2014.

Note to editors: STELP founder Serkan Eren is on site in Burundi in Bujumbura until May 11th. He would be happy to provide an interview/assessment. Images for editorial use with the source Niko Žalac/Nidji Studio can be found here: https://bit.ly/Einsatz_Burundi

About STELP
STELP e. V. is a humanitarian aid organization from Stuttgart that alleviates acute needs through quick access to food, sanitary products and medical care. Since 2015, we have been providing quick, unbureaucratic and local support to people in need on three continents in 16 countries. Our long-term goal is to create a world in which all people can live independently in dignity and security and shape a sustainable future for themselves.

About the SEZ
The Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) strengthens the people in Baden-Württemberg's awareness of the global connections between local actions. Through events and conferences, it raises awareness of globally responsible actions and shows how everyone can do something for a fairer world. The foundation promotes and networks private, municipal and regional initiatives to improve and deepen partnerships with countries in the so-called Global South. The partnership with Burundi, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, plays a special role.

STELP contact for press representatives
Sina Goetz
Head of Communications & Marketing
Email: presse@stelp.eu
Phone: + 49 176 46787565

SEZ contact for press representatives
Anna Leicht
Public relations for the AMAHORO! State partnership between Baden-Württemberg and Burundi
Email: Leicht@sez.de
Phone: + 49 711 2102911

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