Burundi's displaced people - Photos by Cedric Luypaerts

Wedged between Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda, Burundi occupies a high plateau divided by several deep valleys, being Africa’s least urbanized country.

Ethnic tensions which characterized the political conflict of Burundi for nearly two decades have caused population displacements of various scales both within and outside the country. These displacement sites are places where persons or groups of perso
ns are re-settled temporarily or permanently in order to be protected against violence or disasters.
The security situation in Burundi improved substantially after the last rebel
group in the country laid down its arms at the end of 2008. However, up to 100,000 people remained displaced as of the end of October 2009 in some 100 sites in central and northern Burundi, according to the International Displacement Monitoring Centre. This estimate is based on the last comprehensive Internally Displaced Person (IDP) survey undertaken by the UN in 2005, which found that some 117,000 IDPs lived in settlements, many of which had grown into villages. This number did not take into account people living with host families, particularly in urban centres and in Bujumbura Rural and Bubanza Provinces. In May 2009 the Burundian Ministry of National Solidarity released a report citing a figure of over 150,000 IDPs, but the report was rejected by local officials as methodologically flawed.

Most of these people, displaced in the 1990s or early 2000s following inter-ethnic violence and fighting between the government and rebel groups, have integrated in the neighbouring towns and villages they fled to, and the majority reportedly wish to remain in these sites.
"I started my reportages in 2007 while I was volunteering with an NGO in a village for displaced people ("village de la SAB") in Bujumbura. Two consecutive trips in 2008 and 2009 allowed me to continue this photographic project (which is still work in progress)." (Cedric Luypaerts)
The photographs represent a cross-section of Cédric Luypaerts' work between 2007 and 2009 in the Burundian village for displaced persons.

This girl turned her face toward me while I was talking with the adults of the village.
She was probably intrigued by my camera.
Photo © Cedric Luypaerts, SAB / 2007

Bijou praying in the classroom of the village school.
Photo © Cedric Luypaerts, SAB / 2008

Group of students from the village school.
Photo © Cedric Luypaerts, SAB / 2009

Baby sleeping alone in a warm and humid place, surrounded by a pile of objects damaged by flood.
Photo © Cedric Luypaerts, SAB / 2009

Children playing with water at the drinking fountain installed by the Médecins Sans Frontière NGO.
Photo © Cedric Luypaerts, SAB / 2009

Photos © Cédric Luypaerts. All Rights Reserved

About Cédric Luypaerts:

Cédric is a 26-year-old Belgian freelance graphic designer based in Brussels, but producing photographic work in Africa has become increasingly important for him over the past few years. Cédric is currently seeking work opportunities in Africa, and particularly projects that would allow him to continue his series of photos in Burundi.
To learn more about Cédric's work visit his website HERE and his Flickr photostream HERE, or contact him at


  1. Miriam says

    Excellent reporting on something we don't see every day!

    Pascal G. says

    The subject is sad, the situation is still worrying, but the kids seem to have big-time fun. And some of their names are a delight. C'est magnifique!

    Philipp says

    Great photos - thank you for that voice!

    Leon v. Q. says

    wowww! i've read much about the IDPs in darfur, sudan, but wasn't aware of the situation in burundi. thanks for this material and photos!

    Claire says

    These pictures get really close to Burundian reality! Thanks!

    Helen White says

    Cedric, you've done an amazing job in Burundi. I do hope you will get all the needed support for continuing documenting - in your special way - the Burundian life.

    Anonymous says

    great photo reportage!

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