Posted on4 October, 2016 | 03:45

Burundi: UN Aid Agency Shifts Focus to Burundi Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is refocusing energies on fundraising for Burundian refugees, after realising a surge in contributions to cater for displaced South Sudanese

Recently, the United Arab Emirates provided material donations while the US contributed $133 million to support the 2.7 million refugees within South Sudan and in neighbouring countries. This was a marked improvement from January to September 19, when only 20 per cent of the $701 million required for the South Sudanese appeal had been raised.

US Agency for International Development administrator Gayle Smith, called upon the leaders of South Sudan to restore stability for civilians and humanitarian agencies, so that ordinary South Sudanese are able to rebuild their lives.

The focus is now turning to Burundi, where UNHCR expects rising refugee numbers, with neighbouring Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo struggling to provide shelter and other humanitarian services. The UNHCR says the number of people fleeing Burundi has passed the 300,000 mark, 18 months after the political crisis started, and wants a permanent solution found.

In Rwanda, which hosts more than 81,000 Burundian refugees, 70 per cent are living in emergency shelters, which are starting to deteriorate, the agency says. Half of the refugees are children, many of whom are unaccompanied, meaning that in addition to shelter, aid agencies are also struggling with family tracing, reunification and alternative care arrangements for them.

Similar problems are being experienced in DRC, which registered 3,925 refugees between July and mid-September, compared with 1,773 from April-June.
In Zambia, there will be a need for relocation assistance once the 1,700 Burundian refugees seeking asylum receive government approval.

For Tanzania, which currently hosts 54 per cent of Burundian refugees, UNHCR is appealing for funds to provide education, prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, child protection and youth programming, psycho-social counselling, and livelihood activities.





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