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BURUNDI: Oxfam-GB pulls out

NAIROBI, 5 January 2004 (IRIN) - Oxfam-GB (Great Britain) has decided to close its country office and operational programme in Burundi with effect from January 2004, the international relief and development NGO informed IRIN on 2 January.

"Oxfam-GB is withdrawing from Burundi because at the present time we are not able to operate effectively in the country. The insecure environment has made it very difficult to secure appropriately experienced and qualified staff to manage the programme," the agency said in a statement. "In spite of every effort, it has not been possible to overcome this. This has affected our ability to manage an effective programme in the country that benefits the poor people of Burundi."

However, Oxfam-GB said that two Oxfam International affiliates - NOVIB (Oxfam Netherlands) and Oxfam Quebec - would continue to work in Burundi in support of projects and partners.

Oxfam-GB said that it had a limited presence in Burundi, involving two projects: the first, a development programme in Gitega Province, central Burundi, that had been running for three years, which had been handed over to CARE; the other, providing water and sanitation for internally displaced people, had been put on hold due to insecurity and would not be restarting.

"This was a very difficult decision for Oxfam-GB given the immense needs in the country," Oxfam-GB stated. "We will continue to monitor the situation in Burundi and respond to critical emergencies as required and as appropriate."

Oxfam-GB added that it and the Oxfam International network remained "deeply committed to the Great Lakes region", with offices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as partner organisations in Burundi.

Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Refugees/IDPs

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