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WFP feeds wounded from massacre in Western Burundi

WFP feeds wounded from massacre in western burundi

BUJUMBURA - The United Nations World Food Programme said today it was providing food to the wounded and other survivors of the 13 August massacre at Gatumba transit camp in Burundi, and that it stood ready to assist refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo when they are transferred to safer sites.

"This savage slaughter of refugees is appalling and an outrage that the whole international community condemns," said Foday Turay, WFP's Deputy Country Director in Burundi.
"WFP urges all parties to end violence so that security can be restored to allow humanitarian aid to reach both the Congolese refugees and other communities in need of food in Burundi."

The National Liberation Forces, a Burundian Hutu rebel group, claimed responsibility for the attack on the camp for Congolese Tutsi known as Banyamulenge, who had fled fighting in the eastern DRC in June when commanders citing alleged mistreatment of Banyamulenge rebelled. More than 150 refugees - many of them women and children - were slaughtered at Gatumba.

During the attack and mass killing, virtually all food in the camp was destroyed by fire. The next day, WFP rushed high-energy biscuits, corn-soya blend and vegetable oil to Gatumba to feed 1,000 survivors, followed on Monday by a one-week distribution of essential food commodities.

WFP will give the refugees at Gatumba more rations next week - at the same time as it feeds other DRC refugees in camps at Rugombo and Karurama who will be transferred to safer sites.

A 15-day ration has also been provided to more than 100 refugees wounded in the attack, plus family members caring for the wounded.

WFP has been feeding tens of thousands of refugees who fled into Burundi from the DRC, delivering 1,000 tonnes of food aid to the Congolese refugees since June. This extra load is hampering WFP's capacity to cover food needs for Burundi from September to January.

The end of the year is the lean season when many farming families will have used up their food from the last harvest before the next crop.

A national harvest and food stocks assessment carried out by WFP and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in June revealed a substantial shortage of food, especially pulses, in Burundi. This has already started to affect the nutritional status of vulnerable people in some provinces.

The food shortage is mainly due to irregular rains, food crop diseases, higher basic food prices and insecurity. Since the end of July, WFP has undertaken targeted food distributions each month with a total of 6,800 tonnes. WFP expects to distribute more than 41,000 tonnes by the end of the year.

WFP's requirements for Burundi between now and January next year include 15,000 tonnes of cereals and 5,000 tonnes of pulses as well as vegetable oil, corn-soya blend, sugar and salt.
WFP relies on voluntary donor contributions to assist its emergency operation in Burundi.

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Peter Smerdon,
WFP/Nairobi, Tel +254-20-622179, Mob. + 254-733-528911

Brenda Barton,
Deputy Director Communications, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39-06-65132602,
Mob. +39-3472582217

Gregory Barrow,
WFP/London, Tel. +44-20-75929292, Mob. +44-7968-008474

Christiane Berthiaume,
WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564, Mob. +41-79-2857304
Jordan Dey, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1-202-4223383