In one of the suburbs in the outskirts of Burundi’s commercial city Bujumbura, schools have turned into shelters as floods left the 2020 flood victims stranded.
As of last Friday three major sites of Gaharawe, Muyange I and Kinyinya II located in Gatumba in the outskirts of Bujumbura were hit by major floods forcing the displaced out of the camps and interrupting schools.
“From this Monday, we are not schooling because of the severe flooding and mudslides. We are waiting for them to dry off so that we can go back to school,” a pupil studying at Kinyinya II displacement site known as SAD (Social action for Development) told BurundiTimes.
More than 70% of schools are bounded to close due to the floods of the Rusizi River in Gatumba. Since Monday may 8, 2023, students can’t access the school facilities due to the floods and few schools have been turned into shelter for the displaced victims in Kinyinya II.
“It’s getting worse nowadays. Even if we are still schooling we are living in tough conditions. Since last Friday our site has been flooded. I have to manage studies and come back in this floods and mudslide,” said Kabura Aboubakar, pupil in 8th grade at ECOFO Gatumba VII.
“I cannot afford paying the boat transport an amount elevated to 2,000 per day. So I have to walk in the water, change clothes once on board and put on the uniform and walk to school as if life goes on normally. This is exhausting because we do not get proper sleep,” he added.
On the other hand, parents are preoccupied as they could not be able to save anything from their households left but with nothing.
Estella Nishimwe is a divorced mother of four says that last week floods destroyed all her belongings and left her stranded after being displaced with floods three years ago back in 2020.
“I was farming when I heard that there is water in my house so I managed to come in rush to see if I could to save the essentials but we could not. I am worried I do not know where I am going to get new school materials for my two children,” she said.
As floods heavily hit Gatumba, victims were left with no choice but finding shelter in the nearby school establishment.
“I am not far from where my children study at ECOFO Warubondo, my mum and my children had to occupy their school like many others,” said Mpawenayo Hervé.
“My school is temporarily closed due to severe flood. My family and I had to relocate from our household to Saint Francois Xavier School (ECOFO GATUMA IV & VII). This situation of hardship looks eternal because we are not having proper sleep, we have to move desks at least twice a day,” he added.
This is the second time flood victims couldn’t save their properties in almost three years.
“This time around things are getting worse. What is happening here is unlike any other recent disaster. Other places are affected. We are in constant move,” Said Masumbuko a father to 5 children.
It should be noted that Burundi Prime Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca has so far asked Gatumba population to stay prepared for measures that the government will take which May including evacuating the residents to much safer areas.