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FEATURE STORY

The World Bank Deploys Experts to Burundi to Support the Government After Heavy Rains, Flooding

March 7, 2014

BUJUMBURA, March 7, 2014 -- Burundi residents are used to heavy rainfall during this time of year, but nothing could have prepared them for the massive devastation that occurred from February 9-10, in and around the capital Bujumbura. Eleven hours of prolonged and heavy rainfall created landslides and flash flooding leaving 69 people dead and destroying more than 3,000 houses.  

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There was so much wind, rain and lightning everywhere but no one imagined what would follow Close Quotes

Jean-Joseph
A local business owner.

The force of the mud and water left a trail of devastation in the Bujumbura neighborhoods of Mutimbuzi, Isale, Kinama and Kamenge. Local emergency responders remarked how they could not remember such a catastrophic event happening during their lifetime.

Even though the World Bank is not a first responder during such events, it can quickly deploy technical experts following a disaster. At the request of the Government of Burundi, a Disaster Risk Management Group specialist is now in the country providing expertise as part of a government-led, rapid assessment mission. The assessment will focus on the water, sanitation, transportation and urban infrastructure.

The specialist will advise on medium to long-term activities needed to better cope with the underlying causes of floods and landslides in Burundi. Using techniques such as the mapping of risks, improved early warning systems and urban planning, it is hoped future landslides and floods can be prevented.

“We are deeply saddened by this disaster” said World Bank Country Manager, Rachidi Radji, “We will continue to contribute to the recovery process and feel assured that Burundi and its development partners will benefit from the technical contribution offered by our rapid assessment mission which is led by a disaster risk specialist.”