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 had gone through a relatively peaceful period.
A new refugee movement started in April 2015 in the Great Lakes region. Protests erupted in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, after the announcement on 25 April 2015 that the current President Nkurunziza would run for a third term in the June presidential elections. As a result, over 295 000 Burundians fled to neighbouring countries, with Tanzania being the main recipient so far and hosting over half of the refugees, followed by Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
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.