Volatile situation worsens in Burundi
Outbreak of violence
226,610 refugees|270 killed|Escalating violence
The conflict in Burundi escalated on Friday 12 December when heavily armed gunmen stormed military installations killing 87 people.
The current situation is extremely concerning, with some of the worst violence since the unrest began. Since April, hundreds of people have been killed and more than 200,000 have fled the country.
The situation grew worse since the disputed re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza to a third term on July 21, with armed groups and government security forces facing off against each other in violent clashes.
International Medical Corps experts are deploying to Tanzania, where hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled, to identify ways in which we can best assist those affected by the crisis in Burundi, particularly those in already overstretched refugee camps.
The influx of refugees has further stretched already stressed resources in Tanzania, and more refugees are arriving every day. It is now the rainy season in the region, bringing heavy rains and flooding that can destroy shelters and cause latrines to overflow. Life-threatening malaria and diarrhoea have already been spreading in the refugee camps which are overcrowded and underserved.
With the overcrowded conditions, sanitation facilities are ill-equipped to meet the needs of the camp’s occupants and UNHCR has indicated there are high levels of sexual and gender-based violence and abuse in the main camp, Nyarugusu which houses more than 160,000 refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Unless there is a halt to the violence, humanitarian needs in Burundi and neighbouring countries could rapidly increase. Along with the rest of the humanitarian community, International Medical Corps are calling for an immediate end to the violence in Burundi.
International Medical Corps already has a presence in Burundi and has been monitoring developments in the country, as well as in Tanzania. With Burundi in a fragile state and the influx of refugees straining the capacity of camps in Tanzania, International Medical Corps is moving forward with preparations in the event that a scaled-up response is needed. In addition to an assessment team in Tanzania, International Medical Corps is activating an emergency response team to remain on standby for Burundi and provide support the existing team in country if needed. International Medical Corps has worked in Burundi since 1995, implementing programmes on primary health care, prevention of gender-based violence, food security and nutrition.