The Anglican Church in Burundi reports that a fire has devastated the central marketplace in the capital city of Bujumbura. The 27 January 2013 conflagration destroyed hundreds of businesses and left an unknown number of people dead
“In a country rated as the poorest in the world, where inflation is estimated at 9.7 per cent the fire will inevitably have a significant effect on the country’s already fragile economy. As people are trying to make a living by selling goods and items along the roadsides prices are steadily increasing on basic commodities such as rice and beans, the staple diet of many. The tragedy will also have an impact on other African countries, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda from where fabrics and food items sold in the market originate,” the church wrote on its Facebook page.
Attempts to fight the fire were sporadic. The church reported the government was only able to provide two fire engines to fight the blaze, while a third vehicle was provided by the UN mission in the country. Neighboring Rwanda sent a helicopter to carry water from Lake Tanganyika to the city, but the church reported the fire burnt out of control “resulting in the loss of hundreds of businesses and livelihoods. A number of people lost their lives as they were trying to save or secure their goods and money from the burning market and from looters.”
The Anglican Church reports the Red Cross, churches and local community groups are working with the government in “response to the crisis. The Province is currently assessing the situation as it unfolds and as needs become more apparent.”
Details on how Anglicans can help are available from the provincial office, the church reports, which can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org