The Burundian Crisis

In early 2015, growing tensions in Burundi accelerated in anticipation of national elections. In response to the mobilization of armed factions and due to fear of the outbreak of violence, many Burundians began to flee into neighboring countries, including Rwanda, Congo and Tanzania. In May 2015, a failed coup occurred, throwing the capital of Bujumbura into disarray and leading even more Burundians to leave their homes amidst the chaos and uncertainty. Since 2015, the situation in Burundi has remained tense, as uncertainty and fear abound. 

The 2015 violence in Burundi has created over 400,000 refugees, more than half of whom are under the age of 18. Over 80,000 refugees have resettled in Rwanda, Burundi’s northern neighbor. Mahama Refugee Camp is the largest refugee camp in Rwanda, housing over 50,000 Burundian refugees. As recent as January 5, 2019, the number has risen to 56,000 Burundian refugees. Despite the prevailing image of refugee crises as temporary emergencies, the reality is that it often takes years, and even decades for displaced persons to return home. The refugees in the Mahama camp will likely remain there for the foreseeable future.


The Refugee Crisis

  • Currently, Rwanda hosts over 56,000 Burundian refugees in Mahama camp in Kirehe District Eastern Province.

  • New displacement remains very high. One person becomes displaced every 2 seconds – less than the time it takes to read this sentence. 

  • 25.4 million refugees in the world—the highest ever seen.

  • Since April 2015, 300,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries following election-related violence.

  • 85% of the world’s displaced people are in developing countries.

  • 44,400 people a day are forced to flea their homes due to persecution or conflict.