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Food insecurity likely to increase in Kirundo and Muyinga provinces from August to December

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • July 2015
Food insecurity likely to increase in Kirundo and Muyinga provinces from August to December

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  • Key Messages
  • Preface
  • Projected outlook through December 2015

  • Preface



    Key Messages
    • Tentative improvements in household food security for poor households in Kirundo and Muyinga Provinces in the Dépression du Nord Livelihood Zone, following Season B harvests, are unlikely to be sustained beyond August, due to below average overall production, following disruptions arising from political instability, through most of the season.  Food insecurity is anticipated to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through December, if current humanitarian assistance is maintained and displacements decline.

    • Refugee and transit camps in Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are operating beyond normal capacities, constraining access to water, sanitation, and adequate food for an estimated 167,000 people, displaced from Burundi, since April 2015.  However, refugee arrivals declined in the immediate post-election period through most of July.







    Dépression du Nord Livelihood Zone (Kirundo and Muyinga Provinces) and parts of Makamba Province

    • Poor households lost productive assets and harvests are well below average, compounded by limited labor opportunities.
    • Food prices are expected to rise well above typical levels through November, while labor opportunities will be constrained by expected poor production and low household food stocks.

    Bugesera, Nyanza, and Mahama camps in Rwanda, and Nyarugusu camp in Tanzania

    • Nutrition, health, and sanitation in refugee camps remains inadequate as refugee populations exceed camp capacities.
    • Improvement in the food security situation within the camps is contingent upon implementation of an intervention plan that expands the scope of humanitarian assistance.







    • The immediate post-election period witnessed a reduction in population displacements. However, renewed political instability, in early August, has increased insecurity, that has already displaced about 167,000.
    • Renewed increase in insecurity suggests that production may be impacted adversely, if calm is not restored.  However, an improvement in the security situation could motivate refugees’ return to Burundi and improve production prospects, somewhat.


    Projected outlook through December 2015

    Food security among poor households in northern Kirundo and Muyinga provinces, in particular, situated in the Dépression du Nord Livelihood Zone is likely to worsen from August through December, after a temporary reprieve during the harvest period.  Similarly, displaced populations in Bugesera, Nyanza and Mahama camps in Rwanda and Nyarugusu camp in Tanzania, are likely to face sustained levels of food insecurity, during most of 2015, unless a reversal in political instability occurs coupled with an expansion in humanitarian assistance, as refugee numbers supersede capacities of the camps.

    Household food stocks, comprising beans, maize and sweet potatoes have increased significantly across the country and to a lesser extent, among poor households in the Dépression du Nord Zone in Kirundo and Muyinga provinces, following the February to May Season B harvest, that ended in mid-June. However, production was disrupted substantially in Kirundo and Muyinga provinces, as households lost their productive assets including farm implements and livestock, as they fled to neighboring countries including Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, during the height of the political crisis in April through June.  The political situation stabilized during the post-election period from late June through most of July, resulting in a marked reduction in refugee arrivals in Rwanda and Tanzania, during this period.  However, renewed instability in early August, suggests that displacements are likely to rise again.

    While food prices remain higher than respective five-year averages, they declined significantly during the mid-June through July post-harvest period, across the country.  Bean prices have declined to 300-350 Franc in July compared to 650-700 Franc in April and May, while sweet potato prices have declined to 80-90 Franc from 150 Franc, through the same period.  However food prices are expected to increase fairly rapidly in the Dépression du Nord Zone from September through mid-December.  Goat prices have increased significantly to 45,000 Franc in July, up from 20,000-30,000 Franc in April and May, following a reduction in the number households selling livestock (while fleeing the conflict), after the post-election period in mid-June.  However, additional income from goat sales will accrue to a limited number of households that still retain few livestock.

    Although the decline in food prices coupled with an increase in livestock prices have eased pressure on household purchasing capacities, for poor households in Kirundo and Muyinga in the Dépression du Nord Livelihood Zone, the relief is expected to be temporary.  Households lost key productive assets, compounded by limited access to labor opportunities, a primary income source for poor households, following on-going insecurity and overall disruption of economic activities.  Poor households in Kirundo and Muyinga are likely to face a lengthy lean season, from August through mid-December, the start of the Season A harvest.  The loss of productive capacities for poor households in Kirundo and Muyinga and uncertainties about the progression of the political situation, is anticipated to compromise Season A production, resulting in constrained access to food.  Subsequently, food insecurity for poor households in Kirundo and Muyinga is likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through mid-December, upheld by on-going humanitarian assistance and Season A agricultural labor, from land preparation and planting in September through harvesting in December, in non-conflict affected areas. Although not the most likely scenario, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) remains possible, in the event that humanitarian assistance is not maintained and political instability rises.

    An estimated 167,000 refugees from Burundi have overwhelmed facilities in both transit and settlement camps in East Africa.  There are about 71,200 Burundi refugees in Rwanda, 75,000 in Tanzania, and about 20,000 in the DRC and in Uganda. Food security among Burundi refugees in Mahama settlement camp and Bugesera and Nyanza transit camps in Rwanda, Nyarugusu camp in Tanzania and in the DRC and Uganda, is upheld by humanitarian assistance, after most people fled without productive assets. Water is increasingly inadequate, following the onset of the dry season in early July. The majority of refugees access about 13 liters per person per day, compared to the emergency threshold of 15 liters.   A nutrition survey conducted in Mahama settlement camp in Rwanda, housing 31,200 refugees, by UNICEF, Concern, and the government, in May, showed that 61 percent of the children 6-59 months had diarrhea, nearly three times higher than the average in established refugee camps, underlining the poor sanitation conditions.  The survey which included a nutrition survey, revealed heightened malnutrition, with a Global Acute Malnutrition rate of 10.3 (CI: 7.3-14.4) at 95 percent confidence level, and a Severe Acute Malnutrition rate of 0.3 (CI: 0.1-1.9) at 95 percent confidence level, using the Weight for Height Z-score criteria.

    Food insecurity remains precarious for refugees in transit camps including Bugesera and Nyanza in Rwanda because of the deterioration in sanitation conditions and absence of blanket supplementary feeding for children, pregnant, and lactating mothers, likely contributing to high malnutrition rates in the Mahama settlement camp.  Although the elderly and indisposed have accessed Sosama flour (a mixture of soya, sorghum and maize) dietary diversity remains poor, with only 1.4 food groups consumed by children aged six-23 months in Mahama camp.  The prevalence of total anemia for children aged six-59 months was 64 (CI: 47-78.6) and 47.6 (CI: 29.3-66.5) for women, both above the 40 percent critical WHO threshold, in Mahama camp.

    While multi-sectoral, multi-agency humanitarian assistance has sustained acute food insecurity for refugees at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) high prevalence of malnutrition, poor dietary diversity, and high prevalence of anemia point to constrained food access, compounded by poor sanitation and congestion.  The outlook for refugees is dependent on implementation of the intervention plan, which should sustain Stressed levels of acute food insecurity, through December.  However, improvements in the security situation could lead to accelerated return of refugees to Burundi.  Food security outcomes are unlikely to improve, during the outlook period, in the event that refugees return home, because productive capacities are eroded.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar of typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1


    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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