GENEVA, March 7 – With tension remaining high in Burundi, the number of people who have sought shelter in neighbouring states has now passed the 250,000 mark, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency notes, cautioning that people continue to flee and numbers could rise further.
UNHCR’s latest figures show that 250,473 people have been registered as refugees in Democratic Republic of the Congo (21,186); Rwanda (73,926); Tanzania (131,834); Uganda (22,330); and Zambia (1,197) since early April last year, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to run for a third term, which he later won.
The average rate of new arrivals per week is more than 1,000 in Tanzania, 500 in Uganda, 230 in Rwanda and 200 in Democratic Republic of the Congo. There have been small numbers of spontaneous returns.
“Cool heads and continuing international attention are needed to avert further deterioration this year, and the right to leave the country and seek asylum should be respected,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva.
“Despite recent high-level efforts to engage the government, we have not seen significant improvement in the security and human rights situation on the ground. The deteriorating economic situation is also a cause for concern which could trigger further displacement,” she added.
“Although there has been a slight lull in violence recently in Burundi, refugees arriving in the host countries continue to report human rights violations and difficulty in leaving Burundi. We have also been receiving a growing number of refugee reports about detention and sexual and gender-based violence in transit,” Fleming said.
Some 1,700 Burundian refugees have arrived in Democratic Republic of the Congo so far this year, down on the 2,051 of October last year, but still a steady flow. Many are living in poor rural areas, where conditions are harsh, and about two-thirds (14,772) are in Lusenda camp, which is nearing its capacity of 18,000.
Overcrowding is a problem in all host countries, including Tanzania, which has taken in more Burundians than any other. Nyarugusu camp hosts some 143,000 people, including almost 80,000 who have arrived since last April. The decongestion of the camp is a priority and new arrivals go to Ndutu, while others at Nyarugusu are sent to the recently reopened Mutendeli camp. Another camp is planned at Karago, but capacity there and at Mutendeli is limited by insufficient water reserves.
In Rwanda, close to 48,000 Burundian refugees are living in Mahama camp, the largest camp in Rwanda, and more than 26,400 in Kigali and other towns. As the insecurity persists in Burundi they are running out of savings, which will increase their need for assistance. The Rwandan government, meanwhile, has clarified that it has no plans to relocate Burundian refugees and will keep its doors open.
In Uganda, about two thirds of Burundian arrivals in the past year are being hosted in Nakivale Refugee Settlement (14,876) in the South-West Region, 21 per cent in the capital Kampala, and the remainder in Kyaka II, Oruchinga and Kisoro settlements.
Most are young women and children, with a disproportionately low number of young men. Work is under way to extend settlement areas at Nakivale and other locations. Access to water continues to be a problem and UNHCR is delivering by truck in Nakivale, which is costly and unsustainable.
As with the other asylum countries, funding is a major problem which is affecting access to education, health care, livelihoods, counselling and more, though Uganda allows people to work and travel.
UNHCR requested US$175.1 million for the Burundi humanitarian response in 2016 and has to date received US$4.7 million, or about 3 per cent. –UNHCR
USAID and World Bank need to offer loans to Flint, Michigan; they can facilitate tap-water to the citizens of the city. This in a county where they have year after years of financial deficit and defaulted on budgeted projects of the city. This just by browsing through google after writing Flint, Michigan Budget Deficit, the articles goes back to 2009. That means 6 years where there been missing money for the county budget. This means that the country can’t deliver the community what it needs, because they don’t have the funds to finance what the town and county need.
Here is the USAID mission statement:
“Ending extreme poverty and promoting the development of resilient, democratic societies that are able to realize their potential. We fundamentally believe that ending extreme poverty requires enabling inclusive, sustainable growth; promoting free, peaceful, and self-reliant societies with effective, legitimate governments; building human capital and creating social safety nets that reach the poorest and most vulnerable” (USAID, 2016).
I will look at some reports of the water quality that has been in media where Cher and Big Sean has donated some Dasani water to the public because the bottles settle the issue with the tap-water that the county doesn’t have money to fix or use proper water-sources. Let’s say what certain reports done by various enteritis say about the water and economy in Flint. Take a brief look:
About Jobs and Poverty in City of Flint:
In a town of “In Flint, for example, absent other factors, employment would have declined by 12.7 percent between 1980 and 2009 because nationally, the industries it specialized in actually shrank over those years. However, Flint lost jobs in those poor performing industries in which it specialized faster than other metros due to a de!cit in the competitiveness of its existing local industries” (…)”At the most basic level, poverty results in lower standards of living. However, there are other, less direct effects that are even more troubling. For instance, poverty is highly correlated with low levels of education, and can thus trap individuals and households for generations, lowering socioeconomic mobility through lack of opportunity. The failure to combat the causes of poverty is also scally unsound; if those problems are not eradicated, state and local governments face smaller tax bases as well as higher outlays to support their populations. Poverty rates were well above the U.S. metro average in 2009 in all of Michigan’s metros except Holland and Jackson” (Michigan Economic Condition Assessment).
Economic situation in 2011 in Flint:
“In 2011, the numbers bear a startling story, as of 2009, 36,2 percent of Flint’s 102,000 residents were living below the poverty level, and nearly 20 percent were at an income level that was 50 percent below poverty level” (…)”In mid-1980s, General Motors – at a time when the company was experiencing records profits – laid off 30,000 autoworkers in Flint, eventually 80,000 in all, and shut down several factories” (Smith, 2011).
Emergency Manager takes control because of budget deficit:
“However, on December 1. 2011, the Governor of the State of Michigan appointed an Emergency Manager for the City of Flint, due in part to a deficit in the general fund, the decline in pooled cash, budget issues, and unfunded liabilities for post-employment benefits. The appointed Emergency Financial Managers and Emergency Manager were authorized by virtue of their appointment to “act for and in the place and stead of the governing body and the office of chief administrative officer of the City of Flint” (…)”The General Fund deficit as of June 30, 2013, is now $12.9 million” (City of Flint, 2013).
Assessment of the water from City of Flint in 2014:
“The City of Flint did experience drinking water issues in the summer of 2014. Issues began with areas of the city experiencing “rusty” water. This was largely due to the fact that the city distribution system contains hundreds of miles of cast iron pipe” (…)”The City of Flint received violations from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The violations included a total coliform and E. coli in August and September of 2014, and a corresponding total trihalomethanes (TTHM) violation in December of the same year” (City of Flint, 2014).
Water quality report 2015:
“Prior to April 30, 2014, the city of Flint purchased water of the City of Detroit. On April 30, 2014, the City of Flint switched from utilizing purchased water from Detroit to a new water source, the Flint City River. Subsequently to the change in source water, the City of Flint experienced a number of water quality issues resulting in violations of National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) including acute and non-acute Coliform Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) violations and Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM) MCL violations” (…)”National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) Violations – City of Flint:
Following the switch to the Flint River, the City of Flint experienced a series of NPDWR violations as follows:
Acute Coliform MCL violation in August 2014
Monthly Coliform MCL violation in August 2014
Monthly Coliform MCL violation in September 2014
Average TTHM MCL violation in December 2014
Average TTHM MCL violation in March 2015
Average TTHM MCL violation in June 2015” (US EPA, 2015).
Statement on quality of water in 2016:
“The American Water Works Association applauds President Obama for signing an emergency declaration that makes available federal aid for the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan” (…)”When a community changes water sources or water treatment, unintended consequences can occur. Water systems must be alert to these potential issues and have plans in place to address them” (…)”AWWA is committed to helping water utilities, elected leaders and customers in applying these and other lessons from the crisis in Flint” (AWWA, 2016).
So with seeing this little evidence and also seeing how the state goes in with Emergency Managers both over-controlling the mayor and the city hall because of the growing deficit that surely must have taken emergency measures that must have been done to save budget funds.
The result that has caused havoc now has been visible since August 2014. That is more 17 months when they had it in after changing of water sources to the Flint River. It is staggering how long the results have been – if it is the pipeline or the source it is still scary to know that there been steady violations; that have been pushed under the rug or not discussed. I don’t know why the fuzz is happening now or if it is campaign season and that is why the Americans and world hear about water-quality and crisis in Flint.
The unemployment that goes back to foreclosure of car-factories and other automobile industry has destroyed the economy while the rich have moved from the central town to the suburbs in the county while the town has had steady rise of poverty in the city of Flint. That is why I ask for USAID to do their business and bore holes in the city of Flint in the state of Michigan. USAID has an mission to work amongst poverty and create possibilities and with the amassed levels of poverty in Flint, with closure of schools and abandoned houses an such proves the need for AID from USAID. They should come in with their programs to salvage and create better water with their technicians as they have done for decades in African Countries and Latin America, and help their own as they are in need.
The bottles of Dasani given from Big Sean and Cher won’t do much but a tear-drop in the ocean. The emergency funding from the federal funds might help, but that is also done in fashionable loans so the debt burden on the City of Flint. So as a failed banana republic that usually gets programs and aid from USAID, it is time to deliver that to City of Flint. As they have unemployment on the levels of sub-Saharan Africa, they have high crime-levels and public with little faith in the government institutions. Schools are detreating and other institutions are weaker than before. People are living on non-working programs and many suspended as they have been living to long on this state-program. They work with poverty eradication that the City of Flint needs. They can start microfinancing programs to get people to start smaller businesses and grow the level of monies spent in the city. Fund them through water programs similar to WASH strategies of the USAID to secure the level of water quality and food security as a part of that. Something USAID can do in city of Flint. They have already lost some part of their autonomy as the Michigan state put in two Emergency leader both Emergency Manager and Emergency Financial Manager who overpower the people’s chosen leadership of the town and also control the monitoring of the functions of the town, this to get control of the deficit; but also leaving the limbo of the democratic institutions in the city. That means it fits perfectly to what kind of environment that USAID goes into which often is totalitarian or semi-democratic societies with big-men who are stronger control over government institution than ordinary procedure. This is the same with the Emergency leadership of City of Flint. So it not only the economic difficulties, unemployment rate, poverty standard, in the end it also fits the levels of institutional malfunctions to fix the budget deficit as the governor of Michigan has seen.
So if the USAID will follow their mission and do something good, use their skills and WASH programs, then they should put them into use in the City of Flint, Americans helping Americans. Not a vile and foolish picture, the money that US Government have put into USAID over the year, this here good be a good service back and prove that the money is well spent, as the USAID can finance and find way to fix the water and give of their knowledge to create a more prosperous society. City of Flint should try to get a Memorandum of Understanding to give way so that USAID can give the citizens of Flint what they deserve before Michael Moore makes another film displaying the deteriorating city he was raised in. USAID shouldn’t just build water wells in Afar region in Ethiopia, when there a city in America where they can’t get healthy water; their WASH personnel could really give AID and create development in Flint. This is if the City of Flint could accept it and give way to the organization to show way. USAID have the skill and manpower needed, Flint have not the funds or the situation to get out of it. This here is a decline of a city ever since General Motors starting to leave and move automobile factories since the 1980s. Therefore the reforms have to come and why not through USAID. They can bring hope and more then Big Sean’s bottles of Dasani. Peace.
American Water Works Association (AWWA) – ‘Statement from AWWA CEO David LaFrance concerning Flint water quality crisis’ (19.01.2016)
City of Flint – ‘Annual Water Quality Paper 2014’ link: https://www.cityofflint.com/wp-content/uploads/CCR-2014.pdf
City of Flint – ‘Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30. 2013’
‘Michigan Economic Condition Assessment 2.0’ link: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Research/Files/Reports/2012/2/23-michigan-economy/0223_michigan_mid_metros.pdf
Smith, Jay Scott – ‘Flint’s economic fall like none other in the country’ (26.11.2011) link: http://thegrio.com/2011/09/26/flints-economic-fall-like-none-other-in-the-country/
USAID – ‘MISSION, VISION AND VALUES‘ (07.06.2016) link: https://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/mission-vision-values
United States Environmental Protection Agency – ‘Transmittal of Final Report – High Lead at three residences in Flint, Michigan’ (04.11.2015)