Burundi: “We are heading towards a catastrophe, even the morgues are without electricity”

Burundi: “We are heading towards a catastrophe, even the morgues are without electricity”

Bujumbura, the economic capital, has not been supplied with supplies for 10 days.

“In Bujumbura, we are starting to lack everything. Even beans and bananas are starting to run out in the markets”notes, this November 20 in the morning, a resident of the economic capital of Burundi who returns, disappointed, from his shopping.

For more than a year, and the attempt by President Évariste Ndayishimiye’s inner circle of power to oust the main oil importing company to take over this business, Burundi has been going from shortage to shortage.

A major concern in a country where the majority of electricity supply is produced by generators which must be powered by gasoline.

“This shortage is taking on the appearance of real human tragedies and risks quickly transforming into a gigantic humanitarian and health crisis. It has been more than three days since several morgues in the city have been without power and are therefore no longer refrigerated”, continues our interlocutor, who points to the responsibility of the power in place which, due to lack of currency and organization, has allowed the situation to worsen. “It has also been several days that only one bus in three or four has been running, meaning that thousands of Burundians are forced to walk, sometimes for hours, to get to work or the market. So far, the population has not flinched. Here, it’s not like in neighboring Congo. The population remains calm, they take it without flinching”.

It must be said that Burundians remember the killings orchestrated by the regime, under President Pierre Nkurunziza, in 2015, when the latter wanted to impose an unconstitutional third presidential term. “There were a lot of deaths,” confirms Pierre K. who works in the center of Bujumbura. “Many families have lost loved ones. It’s still very traumatic. Néva (nickname of the president, Editor’s note) knows this, which is why he always leaves heavily armed soldiers and police officers in town. He knows it deters.”

No more sugar or “makala”

The city imports practically everything it consumes. The shortage of gasoline now prevents trucks from coming into Bujumbura. “It’s a dead end here. Trucks coming from the plateaus, Rwanda or Tanzania have not arrived for almost ten days. These trucks can no longer find a drop of gasoline or diesel, if they come, they can no longer return. continues another resident of the city who set out in search of the necessary funds to travel. “If we stay, we will die.” “In Bujumbura, everyone cooks with makala (charcoal, editor’s note) which comes from the plateaus. So, it became very complicated to cook. Sugar is also very expensive and very rare. It is our daily life, already not great, which is called into question by the incapacity of the guys in power to manage the country. Here, we are closely monitoring what is happening in Congo. If discontent were to explode there, at the friend of our president, that could give us ideas…”concludes Pierre K.