On 3 March 2021, a boy watches a heavy rainstorm fall in Kibande, located in Kirundo province, northeastern Burundi.
Burundi is extremely vulnerable to climate change and climate change -triggered natural disasters- and as one of the poorest countries in the world, it has very little means to protect its population. As always, children pay a very heavy price during, and as a consequence of, these disasters: many must drop out of school because their parents cannot afford to pay for schooling, because they have to work to support the family- or because the school is simply no longer there. Children are vulnerable to poor hygiene conditions triggered by dirty water, and to malnutrition when the family has no income, and therefore no food on the table. Add to that the potential exposure to exploitation, violence and abuse that so easily comes with extreme poverty.
Because these crises are recurrent in the country, UNICEF and humanitarian actors always aim to find sustainable solutions to the problems encountered and the needs expressed by the affected populations. However, the response to immediate needs remains extremely limited, hampering the recovery capacity of the people affected, posing a high risk of protection for the most vulnerable, particularly children and women.
It is estimated that UNICEF Burundi needs $6 million to support Burundian families affected by natural disasters this year.