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Burundi: Concerns Over 1000s Cut Off By Fighting

Burundi: UN Food Agency ‘Extremely Concerned’ At Thousands Cut Off By Fighting

Voicing “extreme concern,” the United Nations emergency food agency said today an upsurge in fighting over past weeks in parts of Burundi has prevented it from feeding thousands of newly displaced people.

“Even a one-week delay for people who have no food and no way of getting food is a week too long,” the World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director in the central African country, Zlatan Milisic, said.

“WFP is extremely concerned about the nutritional status of displaced Burundians, as well as the limited ability of the already poor and struggling communities hosting them to cope,” Mr. Milisic added.

He pledged that when security conditions permit, “food will be quickly distributed to the displaced people.”

The last time WFP had access to these people was in mid-February. Since then further reports have emerged of residents fleeing rural communes after more clashes between the Government and the rebel Forces Nationales de Liberation (FNL).

Despite improved overall security in most of Burundi, there are regular reports of displacements in western areas, especially Bujumbura Rural Province, where several thousand people have been forced to flee over recent weeks, according to WFP, which reported that targeted killings, rape of women, armed robbery and looting of households are continuing.

In many cases, when people flee the fighting they must leave their homes without taking any food with them. In their absence, their belongings, including clothes, kitchen utensils, and food stocks, are often plundered.

Since January, WFP has delivered about 1,150 tons of food aid in Bujumbura Rural province benefiting some 113,400 vulnerable people.

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