More than 8,000 refugees in Burundi: HI assessing emergency situation
Following ongoing clashes in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, more than 8,000 people have fled to southern Burundi since 24 January. HI has assessed the needs of the affected populations, in conjunction with the NGO Terre des Hommes, and is planning to launch an emergency response.
© Terre des Hommes/HI
More than 8,000 people have left South Kivu (Fizi territory) in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and are currently taking refuge on the west coast of Lake Tanganyika in Rumonge, southwestern Burundi. Some were transferred to camps in Cankuzo, Songore and Nyabitare. The teams are currently assessing the presence of refugees in Makamba province.
HI, which has been working in Burundi for 25 years, travelled to the province of Rumonge with the NGO Terre des Hommes to assess the needs of the affected populations. There is a crucial lack of access to basic services, including housing, food and water. In addition, refugee populations need non-food relief items such as blankets, mosquito nets, mattresses and cooking equipment. Reduced access to sanitary facilities (latrines, etc.) has increased the risk of cholera epidemics.
Finally, many children, 65% of this refugee population, are unaccompanied by their families. They are therefore particularly at risk of violence or abandonment. They must be given greater protection.
“The needs of refugee populations, whose numbers are increasing, are considerable. We need funding to plan for the launch of an emergency response in order to help the most vulnerable people,” said Patrick Kelders, head of HI's Great Lakes projects in Africa.
by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).