EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. Photo credit/neweurope.eu

The European Commission has announced additional €10 million in humanitarian aid to help the increasing number of displaced Burundians.

This comes on top of the €12.2 million already provided since the beginning of the year, bringing total EU humanitarian aid for the Burundi crisis in 2016 to over €22 million so far.

Following the announcement on April 25, 2015 that President Pierre Nkurunziza would seek a third mandate, provoking serious political division, Burundi has undergone a sustained political and security crisis  – this crisis brought with it a surge in the number of refugees.

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Ever since, more than 260 000 people, over half of whom children, are estimated to have left Burundi, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries like Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“The EU is committed to support the Burundian people at these difficult times. The humanitarian situation affecting Burundians remains a cause of great concern. More than a quarter of a million people have now fled their homes. The neighbouring countries’ hosting capabilities have been stretched to the limit, with the situation in Tanzania especially worrying. The additional EU funding will help get essential aid to those in need and improve refugees’ living conditions, notably in Tanzania,” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.

Tanzania has received the highest number of Burundians so far (nearly 140 000) mostly to Nyarugusu refugee camp, which has subsequently become one of the largest and most overcrowded refugee camps in the world. Even though additional camps have been set up (Mtendeli and Nduta) to accommodate the continued influx, living conditions in the camps need to improve. Risks of infections and epidemics are high. Sheltering conditions also involve considerable risks for the most vulnerable.

The European Commission has been supporting the Burundian people since the beginning of the crisis. In total, EU humanitarian assistance released to respond to the Burundi crisis amounts to €36.2 million since May 2015.