What are the needs?
Tumultuous events over the past decades in Burundi have prompted several huge waves of refugees. Mass killings of Hutus led 150 000 people to flee the country in 1972. Twenty years later, the assassination of Burundi’s first Hutu president sparked an exodus of half a million people and ignited a civil war that lasted until 2005. Since the Arusha peace agreement and until recently, Burundi has gone through a relatively peaceful period.
A new refugee movement has started since April 2015 in the Great Lakes region. Protests erupted in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, after the announcement on 25 April that the current President Nkurunziza would run for a third term in the June presidential elections. As a result, almost 100 000 Burundians fled to neighbouring countries, with Tanzania being the main recipient country so far, followed by Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
How are we helping?
The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has been supporting Burundi's people, both inside the country and in the neighbouring countries, since 1993. Thanks to its work with partners, ECHO has been able to address the most urgent humanitarian needs, providing health care, food, nutrition and logistical assistance.
Since the year 2000, the European Commission has provided more than €40 million for health and nutrition services to vulnerable populations in Burundi. In addition to this assistance, since 2007 the Commission has been funding actions for Congolese refugees seeking protection in Burundi.
ECHO 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.
Following the refugee movement started in April 2015, the Commission has allocated an additional €1.5 million at address needs of the displaced population in Rwanda.
The European Commission has been and remains a major humanitarian donor for populations affected by protracted conflicts in the Great Lakes region.