Burundi experiences recurrent humanitarian crises with cyclic natural disasters and health epidemics with implication on population movement and nutrition. The country’s weak preparedness for future disasters, along with the COVID-19 pandemic impact, worsens the ongoing socioeconomic crisis, significantly slowing down its development.
UNICEF aims at providing a timely, coordinated and multi-sectoral humanitarian response through the continuity of nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, education and protection services. UNICEF centers its strategy on supporting affected and at-risk populations along with reinforcing their preparedness to face humanitarian crises. A particular focus is put on linking humanitarian actions to development programming and strengthening the resilience of communities.
In 2022, UNICEF requires US$22.3 million to provide multi-sectoral assistance to vulnerable children and women affected by the recurrent humanitarian crises in Burundi. This includes US$5 million for the first-line response to severe and acute malnutrition and US$4.5 million to address the important needs of children in WASH.
58,000 children under-five need SAM treatment
515,195 people lack access to safe water
264,794 children need protection services
177,392 children need access to educational services
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND NEEDS
Burundi is among the poorest countries in the world, experiencing recurrent humanitarian crises, including natural disasters, population movements, disease outbreaks and protection issues. In 2021,169,098 people repatriated and around 115,981 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been reported. In the last six months, Burundi has faced unprecedented floods, increasing the number of disaster areas and the number of IDPs caused by natural disasters up to 85 per cent.
Access to social services and basic infrastructures remains low across the country. About 39 per cent of the population lack access to basic water, while 56 per cent lack access to basic sanitation services. Hygiene awareness needs increased, as only 6 per cent of the population has access to basic hygiene services. The education rate remains low, as 1.9 million children and adolescents of school age (4 to 19 years) out of 5.1 million are still out of school, (37 per cent dropouts and 63 per cent never attended school and half of repatriated children lacking access to formal education). Child protection remains a concern as 93,498 children do not have birth certificates as of July 2021, thus limiting their access to basic social services, and 2,903 unaccompanied children are particularly at risk of trafficking, abuse, exploitation and violence, including gender-based violence (GBV).
The prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) is not improving over the years, reaching 6.1 per cent, with 31 of the 47 districts in a precarious situation (GAM 5 to 9.9 per cent). Only 6.8 per cent of children (6 to 23 months) receive a minimum acceptable diet. More than 58,000 children under 5 years of age are estimated to be at risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2021.
Some diseases with high epidemic potential remain prevalent across the country, including malaria, measles and COVID-19.The health system and facilities at community level remain fragile, and one fifth of the population lacks access to primary healthcare. There has been a 14 per cent increase in malaria cases compared to the same period last year.7 In 2021, 490 cases of measles were recorded in 31 of the 47 health districts.
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to keep interrupting a still-fragile economic recovery, exacerbating humanitarian needs. As of 21 September 2021, a total of 16,933 people tested positive. The situation has deteriorated with an exponential increase since the end of June, although most reported cases are asymptomatic, with a reported death rate of under 1 per cent so far.