Tanzania refugee camps bursting to the seams
From ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – TANZANIA’S refugee camps are now exceeding their carrying capacity following the daily influx of refugees from crisis-torn Burundi.
With some 1 000 people fleeing the neighbouring country per day, there are now approximately 140 000 Burundian refugees living in Tanzania.
Two of the three existing refugee sites—Nyarugusu and Nduta—have already swollen to capacity.
A third camp, Mtendeli, is now receiving refugees transferred from the overcrowded Nyarugusu camp, as well as newly arrived refugees from the border areas.
With the flow of refugees continuing at a steady pace, it is expect all three camps would have exceeded their capacity by September.
Dana Krause, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) head of mission in Tanzania, said the camps were unable to deal with a sudden influx of refugees.
“If the crisis in Burundi sees another flare-up, there is no other site ready,” she said.
In Mtendeli, it was noted, water provision was already below internationally recognized standards.
On arrival to Tanzania, the refugees face highly congested living conditions.
Health facilities are bursting at the seams with malaria patients, while respiratory illnesses and diarrheal diseases linked to the poor sanitary situation are also recurrent.
MSF has treated around 58 000 cases this year.
Additionally, mental health needs among this recently traumatized population are significant.
MSF is providing psychological care in Nyarugusu and Nduta camps and, since the beginning of the year, has carried out 13 795 individual consultations and 1 408 group sessions.
MSF’s psychologists said over 95 percent of refugees now suffer from a combination of depression, anxiety, and sleeping problems.
Besides Tanzania, some 260 000 Burundian refugees have fled to the surrounding countries of Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
– CAJ News
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