What are the needs?
In its Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017, the UN states that 3 million people in Burundi require humanitarian assistance. This figure includes 800 000 people (now 900 000) who are facing severe food shortages and 56 000 children who are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in the course of 2017. A spike in malaria cases is also of concern. After conducting a rapid assessment the Word Health Organisation (WHO) shared that 8 provinces are in an advanced epidemic situation. 8 million cases were reported in 2016 alone. A new cholera outbreak has also been reported in the province of Cibitoke.
More than 390 000 Burundians have fled to Tanzania, Rwanda, DRC, Uganda and Zambia where already existing camps and new refugee sites have been organised to accommodate the new arrivals. In Tanzania, the sudden influx has led to overcrowding and overstretched facilities. More than half of the refugees are under the age of 18, with among them, many unaccompanied minors.
How are we helping?
The European Commission has been supporting Burundi's people, both inside the country and in the neighbouring countries, since 1993. Thanks to its work with partners, the Commission has been able to address the most urgent humanitarian needs, providing health care, food, nutrition and logistical assistance.
Since the year 2000, the Commission has provided health and nutrition services to vulnerable populations in Burundi. In addition to this assistance, relief actions for Congolese refugees seeking protection in Burundi have been funded since 2007.
The Commission has also supported the repatriation process of Burundian refugees from Tanzania who had left their country following the first major conflict between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups in the early 1970s and later during the 1993 civil war.
Since the refugee movement started in April 2015, the Commission has allocated over €36 million to address the needs of the displaced population. The Commission’s humanitarian aid is mainly channeled into the construction of weather-proof shelters and classrooms, the creation of children-friendly spaces, as well as the provision of food assistance, safe water and better sanitation.
The Commission has been and remains a major humanitarian donor for populations affected by protracted conflicts in the Great Lakes region.