Burundi: Food Assistance Fact Sheet - April 11, 2018
Political crisis, alleged human rights abuses and civil insecurity since April 2015 have displaced hundreds of thousands of Burundians and caused a sharp decline in economic activity, living conditions and food security. One in four Burundians is food-insecure, and one in six children younger than 5 years of age suffers from chronic malnutrition.
As of March 2018, ongoing political unrest in Burundi had internally displaced more than 173,000 Burundians, while approximately 428,000 have fled as refugees into nearby countries, including Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda, according to the UN. Additionally, violence in eastern DRC has driven roughly 65,000 Congolese refugees into western Burundi. Following an agreement between Burundi, Tanzania, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in August 2017, more than 13,000 Burundian refugees have voluntarily returned to Burundi. The UN anticipates a further 54,000 will return by the end of 2018. Many displaced and returnee populations face challenges in accessing land to farm and other means of income generation; as a result, they continue to depend on external assistance.
According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), with favorable prospects for the June harvest, most poor households in Burundi will face Stressed (IPC 2)* levels of food insecurity until September 2018, primarily due to high staple food prices. Some households in central and northeastern areas may face Crisis (IPC 3) levels of food insecurity during the March-to-May lean season—the period when food is the scarcest—due to an ongoing sheep and goat plague depriving households of a source of income necessary to meet their minimum food needs.
USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) continues to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to vulnerable, foodinsecure Burundians and Congolese refugees through the UN World Food Program (WFP) with food sourced from U.S., local and regional markets. With FFP support, WFP also provides specialized nutritious foods for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition to children younger than 5 years of age and pregnant and lactating women. FFP support also enables the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat severe acute malnutrition in children younger than 5.
- In Muyinga Province, FFP supports a development program led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) that aims to improve the nutritional status of children. CRS seeks to prevent chronic malnutrition in children younger than 5, strengthen communitylevel systems for health and nutrition, foster positive behavior change and increase regular access to nutritious food.