Sometimes, a short sentence and a few photos can make a big difference. Camille documents the interviews and photos of vulnerable people in the field, and puts them together as a publication, a photo article or a social media post, thus raising public awareness on the country's humanitarian situation.
Here, Camille gives a first-hand account of her experience.
Burundi is among 20 countries in the world most susceptible to climate change. Most of its humanitarian needs are caused by recurring climate-related disasters. Since 2018, 445 natural disasters in Burundi have affected nearly 270,000 people, 100,000 of whom were displaced.
In April and May this year, at the height of Burundi’s rainy season, the lake and river’s rising waters affected about 100,000 people, 40,000 of whom were displaced, according to the Government’s preliminary estimates.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the floods have affected some 40,000 people, 13,000 of whom had to leave their homes to either settle in camps or stay with host families.
As soon as we drove out of Bujumbura, we saw the destruction. One particular house caught our attention, and we stopped to talk with the family. Four households were sharing the house — they have 37 children in total.
Their house was flooded in early May, and since then they have slept in front of the house under a plastic tarp, and just a few centimetres from the main road that leads to the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
They no longer have access to drinking water and are forced to drink dirty water. We saw a man drink the muddy and stagnant water in front of the house. This puts him at high risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera, especially since latrines have been overflowing due to rising waters.
Children sleep only a few centimetres from the main road, under a small tarp, despite the risk of being hit by a passing car or truck. Despite the situation, they smiled at me and insisted that I take a picture of their small tent.
Despite recent efforts by humanitarian actors and the Government to relocate people displaced by last year’s floods, thousands of families still cannot return home because of flooding, or because relocation to another neighbourhood is not possible due to lack of resources.
Many times, Burundi is somewhat forgotten by people, despite its high need for humanitarian assistance. As a UN Volunteer, making Burundi known to the world is a great honour and satisfaction. Vulnerable people in Burundi deserve attention and support.
This article was initially published by UNOCHA.