Foreign ministers from the region are arriving in the Burundi capital, Bujumbura, to hold an emergency summit over the political crisis in the country.
Kenya's Amina Mohammed arrived on Wednesday morning while her counterparts from Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania are also reportedly in the country or en-route.
The meeting follows a directive from Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete on Tuesday to the EAC Council of Ministers to meet over the crisis and make recommendations for the regional body's political leaders. Mr Kikwete is the current holder of the rotational chair of the EAC.
Sources in Bujumbura say the ministers are expected to meet their Burundian counterpart before meeting representatives of the opposition groups behind the protests.
The protests broke out after president Pierre Nkurunziza was nominated by the ruling CNDD-FDD party to run for another term in office, which protestors say violates the constitution and the Arusha Accord that ended more than a decade of civil war.
The constitutional court ruled on Tuesday that Mr Nkurunziza can stand but protests have continued in many parts of the country and the number of people fleeing the country has risen to 40,000, according to aid agency reports.