European Interest

EU allocates €9 million to assist refugees from Burundi

OCHA/Christian Cricboom
Repatriated Burundians from Tanzania in the transit center of Mabanda, Makamba province, Burundi.

The EU has allocated €9 million to assist Burundian refugees in neighbouring countries and those who voluntarily returned home. Since 2020, Burundian refugees – who fled the violence in Burundi in 2015 – have started to return home, but over 300,000 of them still remain in neighbouring Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda.

Out of the total amount of €9 million, €1.5 million will be allocated to projects on disaster preparedness. All countries in the Great Lakes region are prone to both natural and human-induced disasters, and in 2022 over 75,000 people were internally displaced in Burundi, mainly due to natural disasters.

Over €47 million have already been released to support humanitarian partners in the DRC and the Republic of the Congo, and a Humanitarian Air Bridge has been launched to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the east of the DRC.

In February 2023, over 300,000 Burundian refugees were registered in the four main asylum countries: Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. Most of them rely entirely on international assistance to cover their basic needs, such as food, health, water, sanitation, hygiene, shelter, and education.

Since 2017, more than 200,000 Burundian refugees have returned to their country. Returnees need support to reintegrate into their new or original communities. They often face challenges as returnee farmers may have lost their lands in the meantime. Most of them had left their country of origin due to violence during the 2015 elections.

In the context of assisting refugees who have returned to Burundi, the EU will focus mainly on protection activities while at the same time, working with development actors, will encourage longer-term solutions.

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