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EU provides €5 million in humanitarian aid for the Burundian crisis

By European Commission
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Over 220 000 people are now estimated to have fled the country.

The European Commission has today released €5 million in new humanitarian assistance to help theincreasing number of Burundians affected by the ongoing instability in the country. The additionalsupport brings total Commission humanitarian aid to help the Burundian people to €14 million in 2015.

More than 220 000 people, over half of whom are children, are estimated to have left the country sinceApril this year to neighbouring countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) and Uganda.

"The humanitarian situation affecting Burundians is worsening. The refugee numbers are rising, withalmost a quarter of a million people having now fled their homes. This is extremely worrying — both forBurundi, and for the neighbouring countries whose hosting capabilities have been stretched to thelimit. Hosting government's efforts in welcoming those who fled the violence are commendable. Thisadditional EU funding will help address the refugees' most pressing needs, notably in Tanzania. It willalso contribute to humanitarian protection activities inside Burundi." said EU Commissioner forHumanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

The most urgent humanitarian needs to address remain shelter, water and sanitation, as well as healthassistance to stop the possible surge of diseases and epidemics, notably cholera.

Background

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

Tanzania has received the highest number of Burundian refugees so far (nearly 117 000) mostly to theNyarugusu refugee camp, which was already hosting some 60 000 Congolese refugees. Nyarugusu hasconsequently become one of the largest and most overcrowded refugee camps in the world. While twonews camps are under construction to decongest Nyarugusu, living conditions there continue to bedire. Hundreds of people still live in overcrowded mass shelters months after their arrival, while wetfloors and cramped conditions increase risks of respiratory infections and waterborne diseases.