In partnership with the Government of the Republic of Burundi and other key actors, IOM seeks to ensure that humanitarian needs for affected populations are met, while contributing to durable solutions and peacebuilding goals, in line with the humanitarian-development-peace nexus (HDPN). Specifically, IOM works in support of displaced communities to provide a range of life-saving humanitarian assistance, primary health care, and development-orientated interventions, supporting the Government’s efforts to identify opportunities to resolve displacement situations progressively and durably. IOM further focuses on strengthening the resilience of the Burundian population in the face of future recurrent shocks, which are increasing in intensity and frequency.


Following the inauguration of the new government in June 2020, the country has witnessed notable improvements in the security, political and socio-economic conditions. These improved conditions have contributed to the voluntary return of a considerable number of Burundian refugees from neighbouring countries, while others continue to express willingness to return to their communities of origin. Remnants of previous political strife continue to be a cause of instability, and the return of thousands of refugees from the United Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda and other countries in the region sparks additional tensions within communities, due to the competition for scarce natural resources as well as land complications. Burundi still ranks among the world’s least-developed countries (it was ranked at 187th place out of 191 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2021), and over 70 per cent of its population lives below the poverty line.

Since 2017, 203,689 returnees have returned to Burundi, 17,923 in 2022 (UNHCR). As returns take place in poor and under-served rural areas, fragile communities of return do not have the absorptive capacities to ensure their basic needs, and access to land and basic services.

Burundi is also facing recurring disasters related to natural hazards (torrential rains, floods, landslides, and winds), which are negatively impacting the country and causing the majority of displacements. Over 80,000 IDPs currently live across the country (Displacement Tracking Matrix – DTM, July 2022), of which 91 per cent were displaced due to natural hazards. Additionally, an estimated 50,149 houses were damaged due to climatic events between January 2018 and October 2022 (DTM).

The country continues to host around 66,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Burundi has become a departure point for refugees seeking to resettle to third countries. It also sees high volumes of cross-border movement of goods and people – primarily traders, migrant workers, refugees, and travellers.

Increased attention geared towards health responses is also needed in the coming months due to the recurring nature of disease outbreaks with epidemic potential (including the current Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Uganda, malaria and measles), exacerbated by porous borders. An assessment conducted by WHO in 2022 has concluded that the risk for EVD to spread in the region is high. Even though Burundi does not share direct borders with Uganda, the likelihood of the virus to spread in Burundi is high given the importance of movements between the two countries (commerce, refugees, family ties, etc.).

Source: International Organization for Migration

By pr.web