Humanitarian crisis in Burundi

This content is in English.

BUJUMBURA, Burundi/ GENEVA, 2 March 2016 (LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) together with the ACT Alliance is urgently asking for support to people in Burundi.

Burundi has been suffering from civil unrest since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced to be seeking a 3rd presidential term. Mass protests and a failed coup led to the death of many civilians and even more were internally displaced. As the conflict spiraled out of control and took on an ethnic dimension, new patterns of human rights violations have emerged including cases of sexual violence, increased disappearances and torture. International observers fear a repeat of the Rwanda genocide.

After almost 11 months of instability, the humanitarian impact of the Burundian crisis is felt especially by women and children. Estimates indicate more than 30,000 people are displaced within the country, and almost half a million refugees have fled to neighboring Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. People continue to flee to neighboring countries and currently 1,000 refugees arrive there each day.

Government services have broken down, 900,000 people are severely affected by food shortages and 150,000 children are malnourished. The current  crisis  has  been  exacerbated  by  severe  El  Nino  related  flooding  that  is  destroying  crops  and  infrastructure that the Burundi government, working on a budget of 54% of previous years will  find it difficult to respond. An estimated 30,000 people have been affected by floods and landslides.

Health services are strained as staff has been displaced and essential medication is in limited supply. Water and sanitation system are under pressure, heightening the risk of disease. Four out of five displaced people in Burundi have to travel half a kilometer or more to access clean water. Almost all of them do not have enough to eat.

“The people of Burundi are in urgent need of life-saving activities. They need safety, food, health services, water, sanitation, shelter and other relief goods,” LWF Country Representative Jesse Kamstra says. “We to urge you to assist us in soliciting support for Burundi.”

ACT Alliance member LWF plans to support the most deeply affected families with core relief items and cash grants, and to set up peace-building and social cohesion initiatives. An ACT Alert has been issued to raise donations for the people of Burundi.

Working in Burundi since 2006, LWF works towards promoting sustainable community development through human rights, leadership development and livelihoods. Our flagship projects, CEP and Haguruka continue to yield favorable results for the communities they serve.

(Cornelia Kästner, LWF Communications)

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