At a glance
483,257 people of concern as of April 2017
The Burundi crisis was categorized by UNHCR as a Level 2 emergency on 11 May 2015. Since April 2015, some 420,689 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Within Burundi, a further 55,293 people are displaced and 7,275 refuge returnees have been reported.
US$250 million is needed in financial requirements for the Burundi situation for January until December 2017
Since the outbreak of civil conflict in April 2015, thousands of Burundians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. As of the end of April 2017, more than 420,600 Burundian refugees had fled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, with over 120,000 having fled to these countries in 2016.
While many seek refuge abroad, internal displacement remains relatively low despite a potentially explosive situation within the country, with worsening humanitarian and socio-economic indicators.
The human rights situation inside Burundi is volatile. Refugees fleeing Burundi have reported human rights abuses, fear of persecution, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) as some of the reasons for their flight. International efforts at encouraging dialogue towards a resolution of the crisis have stalled.
As the overall political and economic situation remains fragile with no signs of improving in 2017, it is expected that people will continue to flee to neighbouring countries, mostly to the United Republic of Tanzania, where some 249,000 refugees are already accommodated in three camps, namely Mtendeli, Nduta and Nyarugusu. The Office expects that another estimated 124,500 people will likely seek refuge into neighbouring countries by the end of 2017, bringing the total to 534,000 refugees since April 2015.
The increased needs in 2017 for refugee protection and assistance, detailed in this Supplementary Appeal show that the refugee population is expected to increase by 26 per cent by the end of 2017.
In the DRC, Rwanda and United Republic of Tanzania, camps have reached or are very close to their maximum capacity. Particularly, in the United Republic of Tanzania, the situation in Nduta camp is alarming. The population in the camp, originally designed to host some 50,000 people, has reached 123,000, and is very close to its maximum capacity of 127,000. The risks related to this serious congestion are imminent. For example, needs related to the prevention of and response to SGBV has exceeded the available capacity of UNHCR and partners, particularly given the living conditions in the overcrowded camps. UNHCR and partners have as well been pointing to the protection and health risks and the possibilities of having a new cholera outbreak.
Although this Supplementary Appeal focuses on the four largest host countries in addition to Burundi, smaller numbers of refugees have fled to countries including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi,
Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In parallel, the Government of Burundi has reported a number of spontaneous returns and it is expected that, although conditions are not entirely conducive, 50,000 people will return spontaneously by the end of 2017, and will require assistance to reintegrate. Lastly, almost 148,490 internally displaced people (IDPs) have so far been registered in IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), which covers nine provinces in the country. Some 55,293 IDPs are displaced due to the socio-political crisis, while the other 93,197 IDPs fled their homes due to natural disasters.
A coordinated response to the humanitarian situation has been developed since the beginning of the crisis. An interagency regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP), as well as a UNHCR Supplementary Appeal, were launched in 2016 as planning, coordination and fundraising platforms for the emergency response. Since the refugee crisis grew quicker than expected, UNHCR’s 2016 planning figures were surpassed in both the DRC (41,577 against 30,000 planned) and the United Republic of Tanzania (239,059 against 170,000).
Host countries where capacity is already overstretched, particularly in the United Republic of Tanzania, will require continuous support in 2017 to provide assistance to the growing needs of the refugee population. As the Burundi situation enters into its third year, the refugee response will continue providing emergency assistance to new arrivals, while improving conditions in the camps, which includes seeking avenues to improve livelihood for refugees and host communities.