Tanzania warns of looming humanitarian disaster as Burundians flee

download4By Kizito Makoye

DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Basis) – A severe humanitarian disaster is looming as 1000’s of Burundi refugees stream into Tanzania and neighboring international locations to flee rising political tensions and violence at residence, Tanzanian and worldwide officers stated on Wednesday.

Tanzania’s residence affairs ministry spokesman Isaac Nantanga stated greater than four,000 Burundi nationals have crossed the border into Tanzania by varied entry factors in current weeks.

The inflow comes as Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, a former Hutu insurgent chief, bids for a 3rd time period at June 26 elections, regardless of a two time period restrict, which is feared may stoke ethnic rifts between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority.

Nantanga stated the quantity from Burundi was rising every day as refugees, largely ladies and kids, fled the worst disaster within the East African nation because it emerged in 2005 from a brutal 12-year civil battle.

Tanzania is residence to one of many largest refugee populations in Africa, sheltering tons of of 1000’s of Burundians and Congolese, and final yr unveiled plans to grant citizenship to 200,000 Burundi refugees.

Nantanga stated officers have been transferring rapidly to deal with this new flood of refugees safely.

“To date there aren’t any crime incidents reported and our safety forces are totally awake to make sure every little thing goes as deliberate,” he informed the Thomson Reuters Basis.

Nantanga stated immigration officers and people from the United Nations Excessive Fee for Refugees (UNHCR) have been working round the clock to make sure all instances have been dealt with promptly.

He stated a lot of the asylum seekers have been awaiting verification as refugees earlier than being moved into Tanzania’s solely refugee camp in Kasulu in Kigoma area in northwestern Tanzania, one of many world’s largest refugee camps.

“Those that have been verified are instantly moved to our Nyarugusu refugee camp in Kasulu,” he stated.

Stephen Mhando, UNHCR’s official, stated the variety of Burundi asylum seekers registered on the Nyarugusu camp in Kasulu as of Could 5 had reached 2,015 of whom about 1,050 are ladies.

Mhando stated there was an additional group of about four,000 Burundi asylum seekers was at border entry factors awaiting UNHCR transportation to Kasula district and to Nyarugusu camp.

“This second group is but to be registered and solely after registration can we give an correct determine,” he informed the Thomson Reuters Basis in an e-mail.

With the United Nations estimating practically 40,000 refugees have fled Burundi to Tanzania, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo within the final month, the European Fee plans to launch 1.5 million Euro ($1.70 million) to satisfy quick want to assist and shield Burundi refugees. [ID:nL5N0XX395]

The funding is a part of a 47 million Euro bundle put aside for whole humanitarian support for the Africa Nice Lakes area for 2015.

“Such sudden and big displacement is a humanitarian tragedy and a severe problem to neighboring international locations’ capability to accommodate refugees,” Christos Stylianides, EU commissioner for Humanitarian Help and Disaster Administration, stated in a press release.

“It’s a severe concern in an already fragile area.”

($1 = zero.8824 euros)

(Modifying by Belinda Goldsmith)

Aline Niyonkuru

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