BUJUMBURA, 16 February 2021 – The United Nations Refugee Agency and 33 partners have launched an appeal for $222 million to attend to over 315,000 Burundian refugees in 2021.
The funds will enable humanitarian organizations to provide critical needs: food, shelter and education, as well as access to healthcare and water.
Support will also focus on putting in place prevention and response measures related to the new coronavirus pandemic.
“Increased international support is crucial to ensure Burundian refugees receive meaningful protection and care in neighboring countries,’’ said Clementine Nkweta-Salami, UNHCR’s Regional Director for the East, Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region.
The over 315,000 Burundian refugees are settled in UN-run camps located in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Last year’s transition in Burundi raised hopes that some of the refugees could return home in the course of 2021, but most of them are expected to need support throughout 2021.
The funds raised will allow the United Nations and partners to step up voluntary, safe and dignified return for those who choose to repatriate.
Under the Joint Refugee Return and Reintegration Plan, funds will also be used to cover reception and monitoring of returnees, and as well as provide support to help them reintegrate their communities once back in Burundi.
In 2020, an appeal for $293 million was only funded up to 40 percent, making it one of the most under-funded appeals globally, according to United Nations data.