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Burundi - Humanitarian Brief: Urgent Humanitarian Needs on the Rise (December 2016)

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Eighteen months after the outbreak of large-scale violence in Burundi, people’s access to essential services is severely restricted. Insecurity and macroeconomic factors, including a decline in external financial support resulting in massive budget cuts (including education- 30%, health- 54%, human rights- 65% and water- 72%) have severely hampered the provision of basic services. Pregnant women and children under five, who rely on state-provided free medical care, are particularly at risk.

Burundi ranks 184 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index. In addition to the instability and the deteriorating economy, natural disasters have exacerbated the vulnerabilities of the communities even further.

More than 4 million people have been affected by floods, landslides, heavy rains and storms within the last year. The majority of the population lacks the capacity to withstand and bounce back from these shocks, and is in need of assistance and protection.

Violence, including human right violations are reported across the country. Displaced persons, youth, children and women are particularly exposed. Since the outbreak of the crisis a total number of 326,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries and 139,000 are estimated to be internally displaced. Women and children are confronted with increasing vulnerability and risks, including gender-based violence (GBV). Survivors of GBV face immense barriers to access lifesaving medical, psychosocial and legal assistance, as a result of poor quality or lack of availability of services and stigmatization within communities. Moreover, numerous schools are occupied by armed elements, putting children and education personnel at risk. Due to the nature of the crisis and the atmosphere of fear and intimidation, many protection violations go unreported.


Burundi has experienced intermittent conflict since the early 1960s, reportedly leading to the killing of more than 300,000 people, many of them civilians.

The political crisis that erupted in 2015 and the subsequent insecurity continue to put at risk the relative stability achieved through the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of 2000.

Since 2015, living conditions continue to deteriorate and humanitarian needs and concerns are persistently on the rise. The humanitarian community in Burundi estimates that the number of people in need of assistance has almost tripled since February 2016, increasing from 1.1 million to about 3 million people as of November 2016.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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