UN warns of ‘massive’ impact should Burundi polls turn violent
The United Nations warned Wednesday that up to 400,000 people could be affected in a worse case scenario should upcoming elections in Burundi turn violent, calling for extra cash to prepare.
“Humanitarian partners anticipate that some 50,000 people would be likely affected during the first eight weeks of possible election-related political violence — or up to 400,000 people might be affected with the first six months in the worse scenario,” said a planning report released by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
It appealed to donors for $11.6 million for initial preparations.
“Urgent additional resources are required to increase the current in-country capacity,” the report added, saying up to $58 million would needed for a six-month response.
Preparations are also being made for possibly thousands of people who may seek refuge in the neighbouring countries, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, it added.
Some 25,000 Burundians have already fled the country in recent weeks, according to the UN refugee agency, which has warned the numbers could rise.
At least five people have died since unrest broke out at the weekend, when the ruling CNDD-FDD party designated President Pierre Nkurunziza its candidate for the presidential election on June 26.
The capital Bujumbura was far quieter on Wednesday.
Parliamentary elections are to be held one month earlier, on May 26.
“Tensions continue to increase and the political landscape is marred by polarisation and limited political space,” the report said.
“These persisting challenges could potentially trigger electoral violence, with massive humanitarian impact for Burundi and the neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes region.”