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Political instability continues to disrupt livelihoods

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • December 2015
Political instability continues to disrupt livelihoods

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The short rains started on time in September and total rainfall amounts were average to above average from October to November. As a result, Season C harvests were average and Season A harvests are expected to be average to above average, in areas not directly affected by conflict. Continued above-average rainfall, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño, is expected through January and may result in isolated flooding.

    • The December to February Season A harvest is expected to be below average in Mwaro, Citiboke, Bururi, Mayinga, Kirundo, Mukamba, Bujumbura rural, and Rumonge, due to the ongoing political crisis that is displacing households and disrupting agricultural activities. Consequently, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity is likely to persist in these conflict-affected areas. All other areas are expected to face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

    • Conflict and political violence continue in Mwaro, Bururi, Rumonge, Bujumbura town, Bujumbura rural, Muyinga, Kirundo, and Makamba. As a result, people continue to flee to neighboring countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), between April 1 and December 28, an estimated 228,689 refugees and asylum seekers have fled Burundi.  





    • Violence continues in many areas, particularly in Bujumbura, and drives the displacement of households, including many from the agricultural labor force. According to UNHCR, the number of refugees and asylum seekers who have fled Burundi reached 228,689 as of December 28, 2015.
    • Continued political violence and insecurity are expected to further displace households, disrupt livelihoods, and limit access to land, all of which will negatively impact food security.


    Kirundo, Muyinga, Makamba,  Mwaro, Citiboke, Bururi, Rumonge and Bujumbura rural

    • Season A agricultural activities have been significantly disrupted in conflict-affected areas due to the displacement of farmers, constrained access to agricultural inputs, and limited labor opportunities. This has contributed to above-average staple food prices, further reducing food access. Many poor households have begun selling productive assets to support food consumption.
    • Poor households in provinces most affected by political violence and instability are likely to experience constrained food access as their normal livelihood activities are disrupted. The minor lean season, from February to May, is expected to start earlier than normal and be more severe in these areas.



    The Season A harvest is currently underway and the majority of crops will be harvested in January 2016. The harvest is expected to increase household food stocks in areas not directly affected by political violence. However, Season A agricultural activities have been disrupted in Mwaro, Citiboke, Bururi, Mayinga, Kirundo, Mukamba, Bujumbura rural, and Rumonge. In these areas there was a reduction in area planted, as many farmers were displaced, and there continues to be constrained access to agricultural inputs and seeds. Season A production is still expected to be average at the national level, as production will be average to above average in areas not directly affected by the conflict, but below average in conflict-affected areas. 

    Heavy rainfall, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño, resulted in incidences of flooding and landslides, causing some crop damage and internal displacement in western provinces around Imbo and in the central highlands. An estimated 100,000 people have already been affected and the Burundi Red Cross continues to prepare for a worst-case scenario that could see 250,000 people affected.

    Prices typically decrease in December following the start of Season A harvests. However, contrary to this seasonal trend, staple food prices are increasing across Burundi and are currently 20 percent higher than this time last year. In November, staple food prices were 28 and 15 percent higher in Kurundo and Bujumbura, respectively, than the November 2014 average. Beans prices also rose in November and are currently 40 percent above the five-year average in Kirundo and 28 percent above the five-year average in Muyinga. These high prices are due mainly to the political crisis, which is disrupting both local production and trade with Tanzania and Rwanda. As the conflict continues, it is expected that trade and domestic production will be further disrupted and, as a result, food prices will continue to rise. This is likely to have the greatest impact in conflict-affected areas, and during the February to May lean season when poor households are heavily reliant on market purchases.

    Displacement to neighboring countries continues, primarily from Bujumbura, Muyinga, Citiboke, Kirundo, and Makamba.  As of December 28, the number of refugees and asylum seekers who fled from Burundi reached 228,689. According to IOM, approximately 15,000 people have been internally displaced in Makamba Province on the Tanzanian border. Preliminary findings from the WFP-led October food security assessment indicate that several areas including Bujumbura rural, Bujumbura Mairie, Makamba, Rumonge, Kirundo, and Cibitoke reported an increase in global acute malnutrition (GAM) levels of children 6-59 months, as measured by Mid-Upper-Arm Circumference (MUAC). However, levels remain below 10%.

    Most households in Burundi will maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through March 2016. However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will persist in areas affected by the ongoing political crisis. This is due to the combination of disruptions to Season A agricultural activities, continued displacement of the seasonal workforce, reduced incomes given limited labor opportunities, and the reduction of imports from Tanzania and Rwanda. Food insecurity is expected to worsen in conflict-affect areas if the ongoing political turmoil continues.


    Figure 1


    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1


    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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