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Burundi: End of food aid operation

21-06-2001 News Release 01/24

Some 100,000 families, both local and displaced, received more than 5,300 tonnes of food aid during an emergency operation conducted by the ICRC in two provinces in northern Burundi in mid-April. The operation was intended to supplement the assistance provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) elsewhere in the north. The emergency rations – consisting of beans, maize, oil and salt – enabled vulnerable communities to survive until the harvest began in June. The distributions, carried out in Ngozi and Kayanza provinces, have now ended.

Set up in record time, the emergency operation was designed to mitigate the consequences of a severe food shortage in these provinces and the areas receiving WFP assistance. Considerable manpower and logistic resources were required to carry out the operation, which was generally effective, although some distributions had to be cancelled in Kayanza province owing to poor security conditions. The successful harvest, the decrease in theft in the fields, the phasing out by several non-governmental organizations of emergency therapeutic nutrition programmes and the fact that food aid did not turn up for resale at local markets all point to an improved food situation in the two provinces.

To help farmers achieve basic self-sufficiency and increase their crop yields, the ICRC is considering the launch of another programme in the near future aimed at providing food aid and agricultural assistance. The idea is currently being discussed with the Burundi authorities and the specialized international agencies concerned.