Wave of Burundi refugees engulf neighboursFrom OMEGA SSUUNA in Bujumbura, Burundi
BUJUMBURA, (CAJ News) –NEIGHBOURING countries are bearing the brunt of the political crisis in Burundi where 300 000 thousands have fled violence, threats and extrajudicial killings during the past 18 months.
UN projects the number to increase in the coming months, putting pressure on under-funded agencies struggling to provide shelter, protection and sufficient essential services while refugee camps that are now exceeding their carrying capacities.
Tanzania currently hosts 163 084 Burundian refugees, the highest number in the region.
United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is negotiating with the government to urgently identify a site to establish a fourth camp to the west of the country to ease congestion in other camps.
In Rwanda, approximately 70 percent of the 81 000 Burundian refugees live in emergency shelters that are deteriorating. Half of Burundian refugees in Rwanda are children, many of whom arrived unaccompanied or separated from their families.
Resources are also under pressure in Uganda, which hosts 41 938 refugees. Each month, up to 3 000 new refugees arrive and urgently require clinics.
A wave of Burundians, almost 4 000, mostly women and children, have arrived in the DRC. With the start of the season in late September rains, many emergency shelters built in the refugee camps require urgent renovation.
The Lusenda camp hosts over 21 000 people, far exceeding its capacity of 18 000.
UNHCR works closely with authorities to identify an additional site.
A smaller number of Burundians, 1 700 have fled to Zambia.
Smaller numbers, though unspecified, have sought refuge in South Africa.
UNHCR has requested $ 175 million (R2, 38 billion) for the humanitarian response in Burundi in 2016. Only $ 4,7 million has been secured.
– CAJ News
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