Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43
East Africa Needs More Land for Burundian Refugees :: Uganda Radionetwork
Breaking

East Africa Needs More Land for Burundian Refugees

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, more than 384,000 Burundian refugees have fled to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo since the outbreak of violence in April 2015.
UNHCR shelters in the early morning light and mist and forest at Nduta refugee camp Tanzania
The United Nations Refugee Agency is calling for increased investments in land to shelter hundreds of people fleeing Burundi to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 384,000 Burundian refugees have fled to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo since the outbreak of violence in April 2015.

The pressure is most intense in Tanzania, where average arrivals in January reached almost 600 persons daily bringing the total of Burundian Refugees in Tanzania to 222,271.  However, of the three camps hosting refugees in Tanzania, only Nduta – that recently passed its current capacity of 100,000 persons – is taking new arrivals.

Uganda, which presently hosts 44,000 Burundian refugees in total, runs a progressive settlement approach to refugee management and protection. The policy allows refugees to acquire plots of land to build new homes and grow crops, and live among the Ugandan host communities. However, UNHCR says, that even a ‘progressive settlement approach' is struggling to cope.

Similarly, land shortages are also hitting the Lusenda camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo-DRC where risk of fire is rising as shelters are getting closer due to paucity of land. DRC is hosting 32,650 Burundian refugees. 

In Rwanda's Mahama camp which is hosting more than 53,000 against its capacity of 50,000, many are living under plastic sheeting in overcrowded communal hangars, waiting to move to a family shelter. In addition to poor hygiene, living conditions present serious protection risks due to lack of privacy. Up to 84,866 refugees have sought shelter in Rwanda.

The agency projects that the numbers will cross half-a-million across the region by the end of the year.

“Without allocation of new land to extend capacity in existing camps or build new ones, these countries will struggle to provide sufficient shelter and life-saving services in the camp sites,” William Spindler, a UNHCR spokesperson said in a statement issued from Geneva.

He says that camp facilities need to be upgraded, including construction of more homes, schools, health centres and better drainage systems to lessen the risk of disease adding that host countries have been generous with their support but more action is needed to avert a dangerous slide in standards and conditions. He also appealed to donor nations to step up their assistance and funding.

Last year, the UN agency received a USD 96.1 million in contributions for the Burundi situation; however, it was 53 per cent of the amount needed. Spindler says humanitarian agencies are struggling to provide minimal basic services and fear outbreaks of health emergencies if the crowding gets worse and facilities fail to keep pace.

Support us


Images 1

Keywords