Political unrest in Burundi took a deadly turn in 2015 after the president announced plans to seek a third term. Street protests led to violent clashes, and hundreds of thousands fled to nearby countries in search of safety.
The people of Burundi are facing a humanitarian crisis marked by economic decline, extreme food insecurity and a disease outbreak. While the worst of the violence has eased, the situation remains fragile, with an unresolved political situation and continued displacement within and outside the country.
What is UNHCR doing to help?
UNHCR and its partners are working together every day to aid and protect Burundi’s refugees in Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and other nearby countries. Together, we are helping families reunite with lost loved ones and training camp community workers to spot signs of sexual exploitation and abuse. We are helping mothers give birth in proper health facilities and enlisting water engineers to drill new boreholes to supply water for refugees.
The Burundian refugee situation is the lowest funded of any situation globally. In 2018, UNHCR and its partners received just 33 percent of the required US$391 million requested to support Burundian refugees. The Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plan for 2019-2020 was published in late December 2018, and appeals for US$ 296 million in 2019.
Burundian refugees in Tanzania, Rwanda and the DRC arrive to find camps full and only temporary shelters available. Health centres are struggling to cope with huge numbers of patients. Education is very basic, and children lack sufficient learning materials; hundreds of children in Tanzania attend classes under trees.