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Land urgently needed to avert ‘drastic deterioration’ in Burundian refugee camps in neighbouring countries (08.02.2017)

Lusenda Burundi Refugee Camp

Last year, the UN agency received a $96.1 million in contributions for the Burundi situation, however, it was 53 per cent of the amount needed.

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, February 8, 2017 – Stalled peace talks in Burundi are forcing hundreds to flee every day seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, the United Nations refugee agency warned today, appealing for more support, particularly land to shelter for new arrivals and to ensure protection of children and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), since April 2015, more than 384,000 Burundian refugees have fled to Tanzania (222,271), Rwanda (84,866), Uganda (about 44,000) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (32,650) and its projections indicate that numbers will cross half-a-million 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, told the media at the regular bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva today.

“Camp facilities also need to be upgraded, including construction of more homes, schools, health centres and better drainage systems to lessen the risk of disease,” he added, noting that host countries have been generous with their support but more action is needed to avert a dangerous slide in standards and conditions.

UNHCR also appealed to donor nations to step up their assistance and funding.

Last year, the UN agency received a $96.1 million in contributions for the Burundi situation, however, it was 53 per cent of the amount needed.

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