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Japan funds efforts to support displaced population in Burundi

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Bujumbura, 28 June 2022 - In coordination with the Government of Burundi, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Government of Japan launched on Tuesday 28 June 2022 a one-year integrated project entitled "Emergency Response for Flood Affected Populations in Burundi", which aims to provide integrated humanitarian assistance to address urgent needs for shelter, non-food items (NFIs), water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) and protection in order to improve the living conditions of flood-affected households in the provinces along Lake Tanganyika.
Burundi faces challenges combining the devastating effects of natural hazard-related disasters and the deterioration of the country's socio-economic situation. Frequent natural disasters such as floods and storms have caused massive displacement of people both in Bujumbura and in the provinces. The people affected by these disasters are left homeless, landless, malnourished without means of subsistence, and sometimes even injured during the event.
Indeed, IOM's Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) estimates that between January 2018 and October 2021, 474 natural disasters were recorded in Burundi, with an estimated total of 279,641 people affected by natural disasters and 108,250 displaced during this period. In particular, in June 2021, the DTM reported a total of 52,182 people specifically affected by floods, including 22,580 displaced in the four provinces bordering Lake Tanganyika: Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Makamba and Rumonge (62% of whom are women) - such large displacements that they justified the conceptualisation of this Japanese project and funding in July 2021.
The needs identified were, and still are, multiple - along the coast, the most urgent needs of the 52,182 displaced persons were shelter (100%), followed by food (86%), NFI (74%), clean water (5%) and protection needs (2%). The lack of latrines has also contributed to increased protection risks to which internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially women and girls, are particularly exposed.
In response to these challenges, funding from Japan enables IOM, through this project, to provide assistance in:

  1. shelter, NFI and WASH; and 2) the provision of specialized protection services and mental health and psychosocial support services. The assistance targets IDPs (85%) and host communities (15%) in the targeted provinces, in both formal and informal sites, addressing the needs of over 11,000 affected people. "In the face of the catastrophic floods, there was an urgent need to intensify our efforts to provide rapid and appropriate shelter and emergency assistance to the affected victims. Thanks to the support of the Government of Japan, the assistance provided not only offers displaced people increased protection and security against weather hazards and forced displacement, but also ensures that the beneficiaries have a sense of belonging without discrimination due to their IDP status," says Vijaya Souri, IOM Chief of Mission in Burundi.
    The launch of this project was marked today by the distribution of 50 non-food item kits to 50 affected households (nearly 240 people), which include, among others a kitchen set, three blankets (medium heat), a 20L jerry can, a 10L jerry can, a 14L plastic bucket, three floor mats, three mosquito nets and hygiene items such as soap, a menstrual protection pack, a tube of toothpaste, five toothbrushes, a nail clipper, a towel, a plastic cup and water purification tablets (aquatabs) for 30 days The launch of the project, held in Rumonge province, was attended by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Solidarity, Social Affairs, Human Rights and Gender of Burundi, Felix Ngendabanyikwa, the Japanese Ambassador to Burundi, Masahiro Imai, the Governor of Rumonge province, Consolateur Nitunga, the Head of Mission of IOM Burundi, Vijaya Souri, local authorities and 50 households benefiting from the project.
    In his statement, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Solidarity, Felix Ngendabanyikwa, expressed his gratitude for the Japanese support to Burundi, saying "I thank the people of Japan for the financial support provided to the people who have been affected by the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika. [...]I also thank IOM for its frank collaboration in supporting displaced and other vulnerable people. In December 2021, we were together in this same province to brainstorm a durable solution approach for over 1,500 households [...]. We encourage IOM to continue to move forward with this approach that balances emergency assistance, resilience and durable solutions."
    In his statement, His Excellency Ambassador Masahiro Imai said: "In order to help the local populations, who are forced to move, we needed an inclusive approach [...], and this is not feasible by Japan alone. That is why Japan decided to work with IOM Burundi, which has expertise and rich experience in migration issues and in urgent and humanitarian assistance, especially for internally displaced persons." He also stressed: "Assistance related to human security is very important. Without meeting basic human needs, we cannot achieve sustainable development in the country. It is with this in mind that Japan always places great importance on urgent humanitarian assistance."
    This project supports the Government of Burundi and IOM's efforts to assist displaced populations in the four provinces bordering Lake Tanganyika: Bujumbura Rural, Bujumbura Mairie, Makamba and Rumonge - a phenomenon that is increasing every year and requires increased and continuous support.

For more information, please contact

Michael Asima, IOM Emergency Coordinator in Burundi, Kohei Sasao, Third Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Burundi with residence in Kigali, IOM Burundi press releases are available at