Burundians across the country, particularly women and children, continue to face challenges stemming from the political events of 2015, as well as the effects of climatic pressures, natural disasters and the weak socio-economic situation. Some 1.8 million people, including 710,000 children, are affected by the humanitarian crisis and economic downturn, and will require humanitarian assistance in 2019.1 Following the tripartite agreement,2 in 2018, an estimated 53,000 people, over half of them children, returned to Burundi, and an additional 120,000 are expected to return by December 2019.3 The security situation remains fragile, however, and access to essential services is extremely limited.4 With the ongoing outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi remains at high risk of epidemics and insufficiently prepared to respond.5 Some 70,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) across the country.6 The number of people in need has decreased, from 3.6 million in 20187 to 1.8 million in 2019,8 mostly due to a decline in the number of households experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity. Average to above average rainfall expected through December 2018 will likely lead to better harvests and lift all remaining locations out of the crisis food insecurity phase classification.
In line with the 2019 inter-agency humanitarian strategy, UNICEF will focus its humanitarian response in Burundi on meeting the needs of displaced women and children, their host communities and children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). The response will strive to protect the country’s fragile development gains, including for people affected by disasters such as flooding and landslides. UNICEF will provide a package of interventions for up to 500,000 people, including: lifesaving health services and nutrition prevention and treatment; access to safe water; support to adopt key hygiene practices; and critical, risk-informed child protection and education services. UNICEF will continue to strengthen mechanisms for engaging communities in peace-building and social cohesion. System and community resilience will be strengthened by increasing emergency preparedness and expanding multi-sectoral responses to various risks, especially health epidemics such as Ebola and cholera. This is in line with a key objective of UNICEF’s 2019 Humanitarian Action for Children appeal—to integrate social protection across all sectors, focusing on advocacy
Results from 2018
As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$7.6 million available against the US$26 million appeal (29 per cent funded).10 In 2018, UNICEF responded through an integrated package of interventions in the most affected provinces, including areas of displacement and return. When needed, development funding was reallocated to ensure the implementation of key activities, especially in health and education. In total, UNICEF reached some 84,000 children and adolescents with critical child protection services and provided essential therapeutic feeding treatment to 46,000 children suffering from SAM. UNICEF strategically resupplied government stocks of essential malaria drugs to ensure that some 633,000 people, including 450,000 children, received adequate and timely life-saving health care. The UNICEF WASH response continued to address current vulnerabilities and linked these efforts to longer-term resilience building, especially in cholera- and malnutritionprone areas. Some 47,000 affected people accessed safe and clean water with UNICEF support and 176,000 people in malaria- and cholera-affected areas received hygiene supplies and key life-saving information. Despite limited funding, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education provided access to learning for some 48,000 school-aged children, including internally displaced and returnee children, through formal and non-formal education opportunities.