In Burundi, when it comes to COVID-19, no one is left behind

UNICEF, with funding from the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, contributed to the prevention and response to the COVID-19 pandemic by setting up handwashing facilities in refugee camps

Fatoumata Tandiang
Rampe d'eau Centre de transit de Makombe
15 February 2022

In collaboration with UNHCR, which manages the humanitarian response in the refugee camps, water tanks, water points, and handwashing stations were built and rehabilitated in five refugee camps (Kinana in Muyinga, Musasa in Ngozi, Kavumu in Cankuzo, Bwagiriza, and Nyankanda in Ruyigi).

The overall objective of this project was to break the chain of contamination of COVID-19 by rehabilitating or constructing safe drinking water tanks and hand washing points in the refugee camps. Due to the large number of displaced families currently residing in the camps, there was an urgent need to provide them with safe drinking water to ensure hygiene, sanitation and prevention of COVID-19.

Centre de transit de Makombe

In Rumonge, the Makombe Transit Center has been operational since January 4, 2021. Currently 212 people, 55 households, mainly asylum seekers live in the center. UNICEF has also intervened at this site, which has been divided into two parts. One part is used as a transit center for asylum seekers and the other for internally displaced persons (IDPs), victims of the floods caused by the rise of Lake Tanganyika.

With a capacity to accommodate up to 500 people, UNICEF, with funding from the US Government's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, has equipped the center with a 20m³ water tank, 2 washing basins and 2 water ramps.

Both parts of the Makombe site are now supplied with potable water.



Centre de transit de Makombe

Safi Daphose, 53, comes from Shabunda in the DRC. She has been living in the center for a month and a half. She left the DRC because of the war. She is married and lives in the center with her 9 children. The water ramp is very useful for her, because she often comes here to do her laundry, she uses it to get water for drinking, but also to cook and have hygiene in the toilets.

In addition to the transit center, a water ramp has been set up in the village next to the center to allow the surrounding populations to also have access to drinking water.

Faustine Irankunda, 26 ans, gérante d’un restaurant, -colline de Makombe, sous colline de Mutambara
Faustine Irankunda, 26 , manager of a restaurant, Makombe hill,

Faustine Irankunda, 26, married with two children, manager of a restaurant, lives in Makombe. She used to bike 45 km to fetch water from the river and it was not drinking water.
"I come to the water ramp as often as I need to. Water is always available, and it is free. I use the water for drinking, cleaning my restaurant, and cleaning the toilets".
Since she has the water ramp, Faustine has installed a hand washing station with soap and water for all her customers. The water is also used for hygiene in the restaurant by washing kitchen utensils and other things.

The project provided access to safe drinking water to 55,101 refugees in the 5 refugee camps and surrounding populations for their domestic needs and for frequent hand washing to break the chain of contamination by COVID-19.