Society

Kirundo: Drought threatens population in Busoni commune

People in some areas of Busoni commune in Kirundo province have been suffering famine since the last three months. The drought that has been observed from October 2018 is the cause. The victims call for help. The provincial administration mobilizes the population for the collection of food to assist the most affected families.

Sicaire Rivuzimana: “All the seeds that we planted have remained in the soil”

At least 31 households in Busoni commune in Kirundo northern province have already migrated to other localities following the famine caused by drought. Gatare and Gisenyi zones are the most affected especially Rwibikara and Gatete areas. The lack of rain from the beginning of the agricultural season, which naturally begins in October, is the major cause.

In Gatare area, at 12 km from Busoni commune center, near Lake Rweru, the population has not planted any crop during the agricultural season A. There has been no rain for three months. Desperate women, with their children, some naked, confuse the passers with the benefactors who come to assist them.
Marie Miburo, 37, is a mother of seven children. She lives in Nyakizu locality in Gatare area. With eyes filled with tears, she says her family and herself suffer from starvation due to the drought which has been observed in this zone since the past three months.

“We planted seeds in November but plants could not grow due to the lack of rain. My children are not going to school anymore. How can they study while they have not eaten anything?” she says in tears.
In Rusenyi area, at a few meters from Lake Rweru, Sicaire Rivuzimana, aged fifty, is desperately looking for some corns in his field to feed his hungry family. This father of four says that all the seeds they planted have remained in the soil.

He adds that his neighbors who cannot have anything to eat prefer to flee to other communes, provinces or countries like Rwanda in the hope of earning a living.

At four kilometers from the center of Gatare zone in Gatete area, it looks like a desert. There is no sign of life. Marie Rose Ngendakumana says her family has been eating once a day for a long time.
This mother of three, aged 32, says her children cannot have good health due to the famine that has struck the province since October.

“Recently, one of my children has shown signs of malnutrition. I immediately took him to the hospital and he tested positive for malnutrition. I was ordered to find him a balanced diet. Where am I going to find vegetables in this desert where nothing is growing?”she says in a melancholy mood.

If I were healthy, I would also flee to other places where life would be better than here, she adds.
As for Gordien Sirabahenda, Director of Education in Busoni commune, he says the famine that has been observed in that commune since the beginning of the first term has led to dropouts.

“In all the basic schools of this commune, 1607 cases of school dropout were recorded while 57 others were recorded in post-basic schools. Famine is like war. When children are hungry, they cannot study,” he says.

Provincial authority mobilizes the population…

Alain Tribert Mutabazi: “In Busoni commune, more than 30 households have already migrated to other localities following famine”

Alain Tribert Mutabazi, Governor of Kirundo province confirms that Busoni commune is the most affected by drought compared to other communes: “Busoni commune has fourteen areas made up of 15,000 households that are affected by drought”.

Mr Mutabazi says the local administration is mobilizing natives of this province, civil servants and communes where the harvest was good to collect food to help families affected by this drought, in the context of local solidarity.

He says it is not the first time that drought hits this province. “The population should grow plants that resist drought. They should also practice hill irrigation as most affected zones are close to the lakes, in order to cope with drought which has become recurrent since the past few years”.

Mr Mutabazi advises the population to abandon the bad habit of wasting the harvest and calls on them to work in associations to manage the harvest well rather than selling it.

“It is a shame for our province, which was once considered the breadbasket of the country but has become in recent days a province threatened by famine due to climate change,” he says.

The governor of Kirundo province calls on those who migrated to other localities due to this famine to go back to their households adding that they will soon be assisted. “The natives of the province are collecting food. The Ministry of Solidarity has just announced that trucks containing food have been sent to help the most affected victims.”

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