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Will Baxter/Tearfund
World News

Christian charity warns Burundi's humanitarian crisis is worsening

by Eno Adeogun

As conflict rages, over one quarter of the population need urgent assistance and 400,000 are living as refugees in neighbouring Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Donald Mavunduse, head of Tearfund's east and southern Africa team said while it's difficult to offer support within a conflict area, the charity has been able to working with partners they support on ground.

He told Premier about the "biggest hurdle" his team faces trying to help those in the east African country: "We simply do not have enough financial support to help more people.

"One of our biggest requests is for the international community - wealthier nations - to provide more support to help organisations such as Tearfund who are on the ground to help more people."

An additional 62,500 children under five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

The charity has been responding with an emergency feeding and nutrition programme in key areas of Burundi, including in Rwisabi and Mutaho, Gitega province, which focuses especially on children under five, lactating mothers and pregnant women.

Mavunduse said it's essential to teach people how to feed themselves and Tearfund currently do that. He added: "It is then a lesson that will continue way beyond the assistance that we provide.

"Many of them have also fled their homes so they're not in their original homes so the opportunity that they have to prepare food properly away from the home means that it is important to reinforce the training and the way that they need to prepare the food to make sure that it is still nutritious."

Will Baxter/Tearfund

Immaculate was one of the women who received support from Tearfund.
She said: "A few months ago I was always sick and exhausted. My skin had a yellowish colour. My pregnancy was not progressing well and I was afraid that I would have difficulties during the delivery and have an unhealthy child.

"With God willing, I will deliver next month. After three weeks of taking the porridge, I have strength, my skin has returned to a normal colour and I have learnt new ways to prepare it."

Mavunduse said "Burundi has fallen off the media radar" while "millions of people - our brothers and sisters in Christ - are suffering from a severe lack of food or clean water".

He said he hoped more help would be given to resolve the situation in Burundi so that the "millions of people currently suffering are able to return home without fear" and prayed for people like Immaculate to be able to take care of their children "like any mother in this world would."

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