“My interview with US Special Envoy for Great Lakes of Africa Thomas Perriello after his visit to DR Congo and Burundi” (Sammi Awami, 2016)
The European Commission has today released €5 million in new humanitarian assistance to help the increasing number of Burundians affected by the ongoing instability in the country.
The European Commission has today released €5 million in new humanitarian assistance to help the increasing number of Burundians affected by the ongoing instability in the country. The additional support brings total Commission humanitarian aid to help the Burundian people to €14 million in 2015.
More than 220 000 people, over half of whom are children, are estimated to have left the country since April this year to neighbouring countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda.
“The humanitarian situation affecting Burundians is worsening. The refugee numbers are rising, with almost a quarter of a million people having now fled their homes. This is extremely worrying – both for Burundi, and for the neighbouring countries whose hosting capabilities have been stretched to the limit. Hosting government’s efforts in welcoming those who fled the violence are commendable. This additional EU funding will help address the refugees’ most pressing needs, notably in Tanzania. It will also contribute to humanitarian protection activities inside Burundi.” said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
The most urgent humanitarian needs to address remain shelter, water and sanitation, as well as health assistance to stop the possible surge of diseases and epidemics, notably cholera.
Following the announcement on 25 April 2015 that President Pierre Nkurunziza would seek a third mandate, provoking serious political division, Burundi has undergone a sustained political and security crisis – this crisis brought with it a surge in the number of refugees.
Tanzania has received the highest number of Burundian refugees so far (nearly 117 000) mostly to the Nyarugusu refugee camp, which was already hosting some 60 000 Congolese refugees. Nyarugusu has consequently become one of the largest and most overcrowded refugee camps in the world. While two news camps are under construction to decongest Nyarugusu, living conditions there continue to be dire. Hundreds of people still live in overcrowded mass shelters months after their arrival, while wet floors and cramped conditions increase risks of respiratory infections and waterborne diseases.