World Vision evacuates from Burundi after failed coup

Reuters News
Posted: May 15, 2015 9:26 AM

By Katy Migiro

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The charity World Vision began evacuating international staff from Burundi on Friday following a failed bid by generals to overthrow President Pierre Nkurunziza.

"As a precaution to the current unrest, World Vision is currently arranging for three of its staff and their families to be temporarily transferred to Rwanda," Philippe Guiton, World Vision's senior humanitarian adviser, said in a statement.

"We are hopeful that things will return to normality soon."

The country director will remain in Bujumbura, he said.

Many offices have been closed since Wednesday's attempted coup. Streets have been largely deserted, save for a few military vehicles.

"Currently - and for the last several days -  our staff has remained indoors," said Kim Pozniak, spokeswoman for Catholic Relief Services in the United States.

"We're monitoring the situation and are looking at options as the situation unfolds."

The U.S. Embassy in Burundi was closed on Friday and it made preparations to evacuate non-emergency personnel and their families.

Aid agencies said they were watching to see if there was a breakdown in law and order, and were ensuring their staff had access to food, water and communications.

"Today the situation seems certainly a lot more calm than yesterday," said Richard Crothers, International Rescue Committee's (IRC) country director. "Right now there is no sign of any ex-pats having been targeted."

The IRC has not evacuated any staff from Burundi.

(Reporting by Katy Migiro; Editing by Ros Russell)