Belgium delivers aid to Burundian refugees

Burundian refugees at Kigoma waiting to be transported to camps.

Burundian refugees at Kigoma waiting to be transported to camps.

Burundian refugees living in Rwanda and Tanzania have received Euros 1.5 million as contribution towards the current emergency response to the two recipients of majority refugees.

The aid was offered by the Kingdom of Belgium, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme, whose representatives signed their commitment towards the cause.

Ambassodor Arnout Pauwels, Belgium envoy to Rwanda, the UNHCR Representative, Saber Azam, and WFP Representative, Jean-Pierre de Margerie officiated at the ceremony to deliver the aid package in Kigali, Rwanda this Wednesday.

“This is part of a larger contribution provided by Belgium to Burundi and Tanzania considering the impact of the crisis to the neighbouring countries. Belgium will continue to monitor developments as regards the refugee situation and will support initiatives to restore peace and stability in Burundi as well” Pauwels said.

UNHCR country representative, Azam said a key area of Belgium’s support for UNHCR will ensure that Burundian refugees have sufficient core relief items, such as jerry cans to fetch water, protective mosquito nets, warm blankets, and other essential household objects, as many refugees have crossed into Rwanda with very few belongings.

Asked about the upcoming el-nino disaster plan Azam said that part of the plan is to create water catchments and settle the refugees in proper shelter while some of the money will be used to increase the amount of water needed.

According to Jean-Pierre de Margerie, WFP Country Director, Belgium’s contribution will allow WFP to purchase food commodities including maize, beans, salt, vegetable oil and high nutritious fortified food as part of the monthly general food distribution.

Rwanda and Tanzania have played a key role in hosting Burundian refugees since the outbreak of political violence early this year. Both nations host more than 50, 000 refugees.

Belgium, earlier this month announced it was suspending some of its aid to the Burundian government and cutting ties with the country’s police force in protest of President Pierre Nkurunziza decision to pursue the third term.

The European country, which happens to be Burundi’s biggest donor, has also threatened to halt all its aid to Burundi if efforts to resume political dialogue continue to stall.