Burundi + 11 more

East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes Region Operational Update (October – December 2021)



4.93M Refugees and Asylum-seekers

12.37M Internally Displaced Persons

337,522 Refugee Returnees in 2021


The East and Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes (EHAGL) region is host to some 4.93 million refugees and asylum seekers, as at the end of December 2021. The majority are from South Sudan (2.28 million), the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia, with significant numbers from Burundi, Sudan, and Eritrea. The region hosts 67 per cent of the refugees on the African continent and 20 per cent of the global refugee population. The region also has 12.37 million mostly in Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Burundi, displaced due to both conflict and natural disasters. Some 337,522 refugees returned to their countries of origin in 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to adversely affect the livelihoods, health and wellbeing of Persons of Concern and host communities in the region, the majority of whom live in camps and settlements. As of 31 December 2021, there had been 9,912 confirmed COVID-19 cases among PoCs in the 11 countries in the EHAGL region. A total of 135,173 refugees in the region have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and about 48,000 have been fully vaccinated (in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda). Eritrea is the only country in the region yet to initiate COVID-19 vaccinations.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, the region is plagued by multiple crises. Funding shortfalls have resulted in major reductions of food assistance for over 3.3 million refugees (or 72 per cent of refugees in the region) in Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania. This remains a critical issue in the region as refugees are largely dependent on food assistance to meet their basic food and nutritional needs.

In December, the Government of Uganda announced that it would reopen all schools in 2022, after nearly two years of closure since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020.