15 May 2015
More than 100,000 Burundians have fled their homes following weeks of political unrest which triggered an attempted coup.
At least 20 people have died in the fighting and more than 105,000 Burundians have fled the clashes, with the UN preparing for thousands more refugees in neighbouring countries.
Heavy fighting broke out in the capital, Bujumbura, on Thursday between rival troops of soldiers. However, by the evening, troops loyal to President Pierre Nkurunziza had regained control of the city and three coup leaders had been arrested.
The failed coup comes after more than two weeks of widespread protests and unrest in and around Bujumbura following President Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would be running for a third term at the end of June.
Ready to respond
Our partners and staff in Burundi are safe and are assessing and responding to needs on the ground.
Our local partner, the Anglican Church of Burundi (EAB), has an established presence in the communities identified and is supporting them to devise plans so that they are prepared to respond quickly to a potential crisis.
‘People are scared’
James Robinson, our Burundi Country Manager, said: ‘Things are tense in Bujumbura; many people have stayed indoors, not moving because of the threat of gunfire, wondering what will happen next. People are scared to leave their homes.
‘After two weeks of protesting, supplies are also an issue with goods such as petrol and water becoming scarce.’
Life has been paralysed
Since street demonstrations started at the end of April, life for many Burundians has been paralysed with transport, businesses and public services suspended or working at a significantly reduced capacity.
Around 70% of Bujumbura’s citizens make a living through the informal sector, such as through small businesses, markets or casual labour – none of which function in times of crisis. This means people are living on what little, if any, savings or loans they have.
This is Burundi’s biggest crisis since the end of a 12-year ethnically charged civil war in 2005 in which hundreds of thousands of people died and more than half a million people were displaced.
What you can do
Please donate to our emergencies fund to help vulnerable people like the communities in Burundi.
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Our work in Burundi