Part two: Inter-Agency Appeals


People in need
1.8 million
People targeted
0.9 million
Requirements (US$)
183 million
Total population
13 million
Income level
Low income
INFORM Severity Index
3.9 / High
Consecutive appeals
2016 - 2022
People reached (2021)
0.4 million

Analysis of the context, crisis and needs

In 2021, despite decrease in number of people in need, the vulnerabilities of the population in Burundi has increased compared to previous years due to the combined effects of recurring natural disasters, such as flooding caused by the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika and Rusizi River, frequent epidemic outbreaks, the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, as well as increasing refugee returns, which are putting pressure on host communities.

In April and May 2021, floods affected over 52,000 people, including 22,500 displaced people. This represents 82 per cent of all displacements in 2021 as of October. Between May and September 2021, over 33,000 people (50.4 per cent) of 65,000 people affected by floods received multisectoral emergency assistance.

The number of IDPs slightly decreased in 2021 (116,000 in August 2021 compared to 131,000 in August 2020, an 11 per cent decrease). However, protracted displacement and repeated shocks erode resilience and increase dependence on humanitarian aid where durable solutions are not provided. Over 80 per cent of internal displacement in Burundi is caused by climate-related disasters. The effects of climate hazards continue to impact agricultural production, while 90 per cent of the population relies on subsistence farming.

Voluntary returns of refugees increased in 2021, with 60,821 refugees repatriated between January and October 2021, compared to 26,868 in the same period in 2020 (a 126 per cent increase). This puts additional pressure on host communities, particularly in terms of access to food and basic services. In addition, the situation of over 83,000 refugees and asylum seekers remains precarious. Nearly 38 per cent of refugees live in urban areas where the economic situation is fragile. For refugees living in camps, there are few job opportunities, resulting in high dependency on humanitarian assistance.

The downward trend of malaria cases observed in 2020 (thanks to the mass distribution of mosquito nets and the fumigation of homes in 2019, and some good practices within communities) has reversed in 2021.There are 30 per cent more malaria cases in 2021 (as of October) than during the same period in 2020. Considering that 87 per cent of Burundians live with less than US$1.90 a day, vulnerable people affected by malaria outbreaks depends on emergency response.

Despite improvements in agricultural production confirmed by two successive satisfactory harvesting seasons in 2021, some areas remain at risk of food insecurity. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) data, despite improved food security conditions in parts of the country, over 12 per cent of the population (1.4 million people) is severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3 – Crisis).

Between January and June 2021, over 354,000 (33 per cent) of the 1.06 million people targeted in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) 2021 received multisectoral humanitarian assistance. Only 25.7 per cent of the HRP was funded as of 26 October 2021 compared to 34.3 per cent at the same period in 2020. The low level of funding has hampered humanitarian partners’ efforts to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people. Based on the reporting to OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service, the most underfunded sectors include shelter and non-food items, WASH and protection.

Projected situation in 2022 and beyond

In 2022, about 1.8 million people will need humanitarian assistance, which is a 21 per cent decrease compared to 2021. Food assistance needs have decreased following relatively good harvests that have helped strengthen the population’s capacity to cope with future shocks. Nevertheless, the consequences of recurring natural disasters and epidemic outbreaks, including the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, are expected to continue to contribute to significant humanitarian needs in Burundi throughout 2022, especially in terms of food security.

According to weather forecasts, drier-than-usual conditions in late 2021 and early 2022, particularly in the eastern and northern parts of the country, risk impacting the first cropping season of 2022, the availability of seeds for future seasons and therefore food security in some areas. The 2022 rainy season is expected to induce new flooding, as the lake’s water levels are still high and soils in coastal areas in the western part of the country are saturated with water from previous floods. This may once again impact vulnerable populations in flood-prone areas. Despite efforts to strengthen disaster risk reduction capacity, Burundi’s preparedness for emergencies and crises is weak. The country cannot cope with severe shocks such as droughts, epidemics and floods.

In 2022, 70,000 Burundian refugees are expected to return to Burundi, compared to 143,000 in 2021. Overall, 178,000 returnees, including spontaneous returnees and former returnees experiencing acute vulnerability, will continue to need assistance in 2022. Additionally, 116,000 IDPs will continue to depend on aid for their survival and well-being. Due to the lack of durable solutions, humanitarian needs of IDPs and returnees from previous years will remain.

Malaria cases are expected to increase in 2022 if no prevention measures are implemented. This is most likely to affect the most vulnerable populations who have limited access to health care and prevention capacities.

Response priorities for 2022

Burundi’s 2022 HRP will target 947 thousand people out of an estimated 1.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, with $183 million required for the response. The response will prioritize the most vulnerable populations, particularly returnees, victims of natural disasters, including IDPs, and those affected by/at risk of epidemics, food insecurity and malnutrition. Of the 1.4 million people who are food insecure 508,000, will be targeted for food assistance in 2022.

Burundi HRP

The priority areas of intervention will include provinces classified at severity level 5 (Makamba, Rumonge and Ruyigi), severity level 4 (Bujumbura, Cankuzo, Karusi, Kirundo and Rutana) and severity level 3 (Bubanza, Cibitoke and Muyinga), as identified during the intersectoral severity analysis and endorsed during the Response Planning Workshop.

Further reading