Acute Food Insecurity
Between April to May 2021, coinciding with the lean season, over 1 million people in Burundi experienced high levels of acute food insecurity, classified in Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above), due to flooding, economic decline and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include about 107,000 people (1%) classified in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), 1,507,000 (13%) in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), and 5,030,000 (43%) in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). With the upcoming harvest of the major cropping season (B), from June to September 2021, the population in high levels of acute food insecurity (Crisis and Emergency phases) is likely to fall from 1.61 million (14% of the total population) to 1.04 million (9%), a decrease of 35% between the two periods.
During the current analysis period, all livelihood zones are classified in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), except for the Northern Depression (ND), which is classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis), with 201,000 people in high levels of acute food insecurity, of whom 50,000 are in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). From June to September 2021, the area will move to IPC Phase 2 (Stressed), with 101,000 people (10% of its population) in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
Recurrent climatic hazards, displacement, intense repatriation flows a nd t he COVID-19 pandemic in a context of low resilience are at the root of the food insecurity identified i n t his a nalysis. T he c ombined e ffect of st ructural fa ctors (including inadequate access to land and other factors of production) and cyclical factors (including natural shocks) also explain the current levels of food insecurity. Recent shocks include water scarcity that has compromised cereal and pulse harvests in the Northern Depression. Flooding has particularly affected activities on the Lake Tanganyika coastline in a context of disruption of crossborder activities (trade and economic migration) following the strengthening of preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the analysis, people affected by the water scarcity in the north and the floods in the west having lost most of their crop production were already receiving assistance.
From September to December 2020, which coincides with the peak period for acute malnutrition, only one district in Burundi is in a Serious nutritional situation (IPC Phase 3). The other 31 districts are in Alert (IPC Phase 2). Between January and August 2021, the situation is expected to improve slightly, with 12 districts moving to Acceptable (IPC Phase 1). However, the situation will remain unchanged for the remaining districts: 20 districts will stay in Alert (IPC Phase 2). It is estimated that around 140,000 children aged 6-59 months and over 26,000 pregnant or lactating women will likely suffer f rom a cute m alnutrition during 2021, based on the results of the national SMART survey conducted in September 2020.
The major contributing factors to the deterioration of the nutritional situation include inadequate food intake of children aged 6-23 months, with proportions ranging from 5.3 to 14.5%, and low minimum diet, with rates ranging from 3.4 to 13.2%. As a result, high levels of diarrhoea, malaria and acute respiratory infections are key drivers of the nutrition situation in most IPC Phase 2 or 3 districts. In addition, poor access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities contribute to increased levels of acute malnutrition in the majority of the districts analysed.