• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 12,600,000 Total population [?]
  • 416,000 People displaced [?]
  • 2,400,000 People in Need [?]



Burundi has been in crisis since April 2015, following President Nkurunziza’s announcement to run for a third term. The economy has declined significantly due to political instability, insecurity, and suspension of foreign aid, which accounted for 48% of the national income in 2015.?Despite a decrease in overt violence since 2016, violations such as disappearances and torture by the police, military, and the ruling party’s youth league, Imbonerakure, have continued. ?Although the president rescinded his decision to run in the 2020 elections, political persecution has continued. Cases of arbitrary detention and violations of public freedom were reported leading up to the May 2020 election.?Evariste Ndayishimiye, a member of the ruling party, won the presidency and was instated in June, following the death of President Nkurunziza. ?

Insecurity and political persecution have led to displacement, with over 311,000 Burundian refugees living in Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda, as of December 2020. ?Over 120,000 Burundians were assisted to return between September 2017 and December 2020, mostly from Tanzania. Returnees, who are mostly subsistence farmers, are generally well received (82% of returnees’ households have access to land, 95% have access to water, and 79% access to healthcare), but have limited access to civil documentation and education. Only 48% of returnee children attend school. ?

The economic crisis, widespread poverty, and climate factors are the main factors leading to food insecurity, heighted in recent years by continuous dry spells, absence of adequate rains, and endemic drought. The protracted complex crisis has left 2.3 million people in need. ?

Latest Developments


No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.

Key Priorities


Health: A lack of health centres in 50% of administrative departments as well as a lack of health workers and medical supplies is one of the major barriers to the provision of adequate healthcare, rendering the country extremely vulnerable to epidemics and other shocks. ?

Protection: The violent repression mainly targets opponents of the government and/or the ruling party (CNDD-FDD) or people perceived as such but also Burundians trying to flee the country, journalists, and members of civil society organisations. ? 

Access to basic services: A growing proportion of the population is deprived of access to education, nutrition, healthcare, and WASH as financial pressure from authorities and the ruling party (CNDD-FDD) is increasing with additional taxes and involuntary contributions for the 2020 elections, exacerbating poverty.?

Food Security and Livelihoods


Over 90% of Burundi's population depend on subsistence farming. High exposure to extreme climatic events (dry spells, floods, hail, and landslides) coupled with intensive exploitation of croplands weaken agricultural production however, driving food insecurity. Provinces in the north and north-east of the country, as well as areas along Lake Tanganyika, are particularly affected. The return of Burundian refugees from Tanzania and Rwanda and internal displacement driven by natural disasters are adding further pressure to already scarce natural resources; only 36% of the country’s land is cultivable, leading to competition over land. COVID-19 mitigation measures also disrupt trade – especially informal commerce – and limit cross-border movements, leading to loss of income. Between October–December 2020, 1.33 million people (11% of the assessed population) were estimated to be facing high acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above). Returnees and IDPs are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition.?