UNHCR reminds the world about Burundi crisis as funding dries up


The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, moved to remind the international community about the political crisis taking place in Burundi, after raising just two percent of the international aid it is calling for.

The agency on Tuesday released a statement summarising the words of UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch at a press conference held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Baloch is calling on the international community to continue supporting countries that are hosting refugees from Burundi as the number of people fleeing the country continues to rise.

East Africa’s forgotten crisis

In the UNHCR statement, the agency says 410,000 Burundian refugees have fled the country since 2015 while the number is still rising. Those who arrive at neighbouring countries speak of grave human rights abuses still taking place in the country – including sexual violence, kidnappings and torture.

However, international aid directed towards Burundi has come to a standstill as the country’s crisis slips out of memory. Events taking place in South Sudan and Somalia dominate the conversations of crises in East Africa while Ethiopia’s state of emergency garners more attention than Burundi’s political nightmare.

Burundi has become Africa’s forgotten crisis.

More funds needed

UNHCR has updated its funding needs for Burundi, now calling for US$250 million to provide emergency assistance to Burundian refugees arriving at host nations. The previous figure was US$214 but the agency has generated just two percent of the revised request.

Tanzania hosts the majority of Burundian refugees with almost 250,000 squeezed into three overcrowded camps. Meanwhile, Rwanda hosts around 85,000; Uganda 45,000 and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) some 41,000 refugees from Burundi.


Featured image: By CDC – http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ierh/Gallery/Zaire%201Lg.jpgNote: As of June 2011, the original URL above is no longer valid, but image was archived on 2009-01-16 by the Internet Archive and remains available at http://web.archive.org/web/20090116193006/http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ierh/Gallery/Zaire%201Lg.jpg., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=337397

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.