• The number of malaria cases has doubled compared to the same period last year, in part due to increased flooding. As c0-lead of the health sector, UNICEF provides technical and financial support to the Ministry of Health to monitor and assess national and partner response; UNICEF will act as of provider of last resort if there is gap in coverage.
• Since April 2015, 249 children have been detained on charges linked to the current crisis, including “participation in demonstrations”, “association with armed groups/ participation in an insurrectional movement/ threatening state security” and other charges. In February, advocacy by UNICEF and partners led to an additional 17 children released.
• The Secretary General of the United Nations visited Burundi on 22-23 February and met with the President of Burundi, political parties, civil society, the United Nations Country Team, and other key stakeholders to advocate for inclusive dialogue and a resolution of the crisis.
Overview & Humanitarian Needs
With the visit of the Secretary General of the United Nations on 22-23 February and the visit of five heads of state of the African Union immediately thereafter, the political spotlight has been on Burundi. The UNSG met with the President of Burundi, the UN Country Team, authorities, civil society, media and other key stakeholders to advocate for inclusive dialogue and a quick resolution to the crisis.
The political and security situation on the ground remains volatile, with recurrent attacks taking place in Bujumbura and a general climate of fear in the affected areas. This continues to impact the humanitarian situation and spur on migration. The total number of refugees in neighboring countries has also increased to 246,305, of which 54% are children and 50% are women (UNHCR, 22 Feb 2016). The number of displaced people registered in three of the border provinces, Makamba, Kirundo and Rotana stands at 25,081 (IOM, 29 Jan 2016).
In addition to continued migration, the reduction and suspension of external aid as well as the worsening economic conditions in-country are expected to result in a further deterioration of the main socioeconomic indicators as well as access to essential social services for children and women in Burundi. On 15 February, the European Union announced that it will continue to apply sanctions against the Burundian Government which relies heavily on foreign donors for its annual budget.
In the area of health, a significant increase in the number of malaria cases was observed from January to mid-February 2016, with 1,158,439 cases and 520 deceased (as compared to the same period in 2015, which recorded 512,664 cases and 241 deceased). The Ministry of Health (MoH) has not declared an epidemic, but 18 out of the 46 health districts are highly affected. As co-lead of the health sector, UNICEF actively supports coordination efforts, including the malaria commodities assessment task force at national level and is supporting MoH field missions in 6 affected health districts to support district teams and health centres as well as document response and supply availability. Although the response is being led by MoH and WHO, UNICEF is ready to provide additional support if needed to address any gap in coverage.
During the reporting period, no new cases of cholera were reported, however UNICEF continues to strengthen cholera prevention in high risks areas and areas prone to floods.