Aid Groups Overwhelmed by Influx of Burundi Refugees


Aid groups have said they can’t keep up with the influx of Burundi refugees entering Tanzania as violence continues to escalates in their country.

Hundreds of refugees leave Burundi each day for Tanzania to escape the deadly violence spreading throughout the nation. Hundreds have been killed since conflict broke out in April and over 200,000 have fled to neighbouring countries.


Aid groups overwhelmed

More than 110,000 refugees from Burundi are estimated to have arrived in Tanzania since April. The influx has forced aid group UNHCR to open a second refugee camp to reduce congestion as the numbers continue to pile in.

Since then Oxfam, HelpAge International, Plan International, Save the Children and other aid groups have said their collective efforts are considerably underfunded. The organisations are already struggling to cope with the influx of arrivals and fear continued violence in Burundi will only bring more to their overcrowded camps.

“Nyarugusu camp is already the third-largest refugee camp in the world, and Nduta is growing by the day, yet the situation for Burundians in Tanzania is struggling for attention and adequate funding,” said Jane Foster, country director for Oxfam in Tanzania.


Worsening situation

The situation in Burundi seems to be getting worse by the say as the body count rises on an almost daily basis. The country is on the brink of civil war and international concern is growing that ethnic violence could spark a genocide in the same vein as Rwanda’s 1994 tragedy.

As for people in Burundi, they’re not privileged enough to have political concerns about growing violence in their country – these people are feeling for their lives. Which only suggests the exodus of refugees will continue to grow and aid groups will face even tougher demands in the coming months.

International attention on the situation in Burundi and its effects on neighbouring countries has been limited so far. Burundi started making more headlines overseas as rhetoric of genocide began to circulate, but the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Europe’s own refugee crisis has left little room for talk about Burundi.

“While refugees in Europe are making headlines, the international community must also remember that the situation for Burundians in neighbouring countries is equally devastating,” said Elijah Okeyo, country director for International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Tanzania.


Featured image:

An Oxfam member of staff helps to carry one family’s newly received non-food items home in UN House, Juba (12046957855)” by Oxfam East AfricaAn Oxfam member of staff helps to carry one family’s newly received non-food items home in UN House, Juba. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.