Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Burundi

Map of Burundi

September 30, 2019

Insecurity following contested presidential elections in 2015 and recurrent natural disasters have caused a sharp decline in economic activity and displaced hundreds of thousands of Burundians, internally and to neighboring countries. Chronic malnutrition among children younger than five years of age has resulted in a stunting prevalence of 56 percent—the highest in the world.  


  • As of June 2019, ongoing political unrest and natural disasters in Burundi had internally displaced more than 113,000 Burundians, while approximately 344,000 have fled as refugees into nearby countries, according to the UN.  Additionally, violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has driven roughly 77,000 Congolese refugees into Burundi.  
  • To date, approximately 75,000 Burundian refugees have voluntarily repatriated from neighboring countries since September 2017.  Many displaced and returnee populations face challenges accessing land to farm and other means of income generation; as a result, they continue to depend on external assistance.  A recent agreement between Burundi and Tanzania is expected to increase the monthly number of voluntary Burundian returnees to roughly 8,000 per month, beginning in October; Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) cautions that this would potentially increase humanitarian food assistance needs and place additional strain on limited humanitarian resources.
  • FEWS NET reports that the majority of households in Burundi faced face minimal (IPC 1) levels of food insecurity through September, following a productive June-to-August harvest.  However, seasonal declines in household and market food stocks during the October-to-December rainy season will likely lead to Stressed (IPC 2) outcomes for most households through January 2020.*

* The Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5). 


  • USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable, food-insecure Burundians and Congolese refugees with food sourced from U.S., local, and regional markets and cash transfers for food.  With FFP support, WFP also provides children younger than five years of age and pregnant and lactating women with specialized nutritious foods for the treatment and management of acute malnutrition.
  • Additionally, FFP support enables the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat severe acute malnutrition in children younger than five years of age.
  • In Fiscal Year 2019, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) began gradually transitioning its FFP-funded development activity to local stakeholders.  This longer-term activity, which began in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 and continues through FY 2020, aims to improve the nutritional status of children in Muyinga Province.  CRS seeks to prevent chronic malnutrition in children younger than five, strengthen community-level systems for health and nutrition, foster positive behavior change and increase regular access to nutritious food.

Food for Peace Contributions

    Total Contributions:

      U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
    Fiscal Year 2019 $15.4 million 10,149 MT
    Fiscal Year 2018 $30.1 million 11,360 MT
    Fiscal Year 2017 $28.8 million 16,376 MT


    Country Specific Guidance:

    Additional Resources from FY 2010:

    Last updated: October 23, 2019

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