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More than 10,000 refugees in Burundi: HI assisting the most vulnerable

Emergency
Burundi

Following ongoing clashes in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 10,000 people, mostly Congolese, have taken refuge in the south and southwest of Burundi since 24th January 2018. HI is preparing to launch an emergency response in aid of these refugees.

Congolese refugees in Burndi

Congolese refugees in Burndi | © HI

More than 10,000 people from South Kivu (Fizi territory) in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) took refuge in the provinces of Rumonge and Makamba (Nianza-Lac)[1] before being transferred to transitional camps across the country. HI, which has been working in Burundi for 25 years, immediately assessed the needs of affected people in both provinces.

"The needs of refugees in transitional camps are considerable. These camps are designed to provide very temporary accommodation and are now operating beyond full capacity," explains Audrey Lecomte, head of HI’s mission in Burundi.

"Access to services such as health care and aid remains extremely limited given the needs of these refugees. Many people with no shelter sleep grouped together in hangars. The shortage of water and sanitary facilities, such as toilets, has increased the risk of a cholera epidemic."

"The most vulnerable people - children, women, older people or people with disabilities - are particularly at risk. We’re expecting to see a new influx of refugees in the weeks ahead."

“HI needs funding to launch its emergency response. We are preparing to implement protection activities targeted at the most vulnerable people, particularly children, who account for more than 65% of refugees. Many of them arrived without their parents so they’re particularly at risk from violence, exploitation or abandonment. We also want to protect girls and women by providing them with psychological support and making them aware of the risk of violence,” adds Audrey Lecomte.


[1] South and southwest of Burundi.

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