Rwanda: 300,000 Burundian refugees in neighbouring countries - UNHCR

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - The number of people fleeing violence, threats, extrajudicial killings, abduction, torture and persecution in Burundi has passed the 300,000 mark some 18 months after the political crisis in the Central African nation erupted in April last year, the UN refugee agency said in a statement made available on Friday to PANA in Kigali.

In Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN agency said  that these people have fled Burundi – principally from Kirundo, Makamba, Bujumbura city, Cibitoke and Rumonge provinces – in search of asylum or international protection.

It is said that although the numbers have generally not been as high as in 2015, there has been a constant flow this year, including more than 20,000 in July and August.

According to humanitarian agencies, the reception capacities of these host countries are severely overstretched and conditions remain dire for many refugees, most of whom are women and children.

"These worrying trends will persist as long as a solution to the political crisis remains elusive, with far-reaching humanitarian consequences in Burundi and the region," the statement said.

Latest figures by UN agencies indicate that Tanzania currently hosts 163,084 Burundian refugees, the largest number in the region. In mid-September it was receiving new arrivals at a rate of 324 per day. More than 78% of the new arrivals are women and children.

In addition, Rwanda is also home to more than 81,000 Burundian refugees, over 50,000 of whom live in Mahama camp in the east, with some 30,000 in Kigali and other urban areas.

Moreover, Uganda was hosting by the end of August, a total 41,938 refugees from Burundi, 13,298 of whom arrived this year. A steady influx of between 1,000 and 3,000 have been arriving each month and most are being hosted in Nakivale settlement, with smaller numbers in Kampala, Kyaka and Oruchinga, the UN agency said.

According to the report, the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen a significant increase in the number of new arrivals from Burundi: 3,925 refugees were registered between July and mid-September, mostly women and children.

In Zambia, more than 1,700 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers have arrived in the Southern African country since April last year, including 715 between January and August this year, the UN agency said.

The prolonged political crisis in Burundi has worsened the humanitarian situation in the country and prompted more and more Burundian people to flee into neighbouring countries for safety and security.
-0- PANA TWA/MA 23Sept2016

23 september 2016 19:38:35

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