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Burundian refugees hits over 250,000 since April

Burundian refugees hits over 250,000 since April

Burundi

As tension remains high in Burundi, the number of people who have sought shelter in neighbouring states has now passed the 250,000 mark, according to the UN Refugee Agency

UNHCR further cautioned that the number of people fleeing from the tiny east African nation could rise further if no proper steps are undertaken by various parties to solve Burundi’s crisis.

Tanzania is the leading host country with over 131,000 followed by Rwanda which is currently housing at least 73,000 refugees. Other neighbouring countries hosting Burundian refugees include the DRC, Uganda and Zambia.

Cool heads and continuing international attention are needed to avert further deterioration this year, and the right to leave the country and seek asylum should be respected.

“Cool heads and continuing international attention are needed to avert further deterioration this year, and the right to leave the country and seek asylum should be respected,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva.

“Despite recent high-level efforts to engage the government, we have not seen significant improvement in the security and human rights situation on the ground. The deteriorating economic situation is also a cause for concern which could trigger further displacement,” she added.

The UNHCR has recorded an average rate of new arrivals per week to Tanzania to be more than 1,000 with Uganda receiving 500 as Rwanda and DRC having over 200 new arrivals each week. The body further noted that there have been small numbers of spontaneous returns.

UNHCR has been decongesting camps by opening new camps for refugees as a precaution to problems related to influx in refugee population

UNHCR requested US$175.1 million for the Burundi humanitarian response in 2016 and has till date received US$4.7 million, equivalent to about 3 per cent.