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Burundi: emergency operation in Bujumbura

10-01-1996 News Release 96/1

The town of Bujumbura has been almost entirely without water since 4 January, after its electricity network was sabotaged. Two generators are still working, so two pumps out of eight can provide water to the town's southern districts. Following a thunderstorm on Sunday, 7 January, the two generators also broke down and were out of action for most of the day. The authorities say that it will take a few days to repair the network itself, but other sources indicate that it will take longer.

The ICRC had suspended all its activities in Burundi a month ago for security reasons, but decided on 5 January to mount an emergency operation. Water tanks were installed at the central prison, in some hospitals, on the university campus and in two schools in Mutanga, and ICRC tanker trucks are bringing water to Bujumbura's hospitals and some neighbourhoods. More than 200,000 litres of water were delivered on 7 and 8 January alone.

Various governmental and non-governmental organizations - the latter include Oxfam and the Belgian and French branches of Médecins sans Frontières - are taking part in this ongoing emergency operation.