Burundian refugees request more support

Burundian refugees.Photo credit/UNHCR

Burundian refugees.Photo credit/UNHCR

Refugees living in Uganda have asked for further support from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), particularly in the areas of education and water, sanitation and hygiene.

The refugees made the call during the visit of the UN’s Refugee Agency Deputy High Commissioner; Ms. Kelly T. Clements to the region as she met with Burundian and Congolese refugees recently

During her visit Clements was given a first-hand look at the refugee situation in In Nakivale refugee settlement, in Uganda where she met with some of the 15,000 men, women and children who have recently fled the unrest in Burundi

She was accompanied by Ugandan Commissioner for Refugees David Apollo Kazungu, UNHCR Africa Bureau Director Valentin Tapsoba and UNHCR Representative in Uganda Neimah Warsame.

Uganda now hosts more than half a million refugees while the UNHCR’s financial package for the Regional Response Plan for Burundian refugees in Uganda is $13 million but on behalf of UNHCR, Clements was impressed by the work done in Uganda.

“UNHCR is committed to supporting the Government of Uganda in its efforts to protect refugees. The success of this innovative model relies on the engagement of all donor, government and humanitarian and development partners involved, and I call on all of us to work together to develop an innovative and combined humanitarian/development approach to refugee protection.” She said.

Clements also earlier on visited Burundian refugees in Rwanda’s Mahama camp in Kirehe District to assess the condition of the refugees, where she hailed the government of Rwanda for the hospitality they continue to extend to Burundian refugees.

“Rwanda has done its best. Burundian refugees in Rwanda are currently estimated at 69,000, which is beyond the capacity of 50,000 we had anticipated,” Clements said

This week, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) donated 700 basic hygiene kits, worth $32,760 (about Rwf24.5 million), to Burundian refugees in Mahama refugee camp.

The Burundian conflict, sparked by the ruling party CNDD-FDD’s nomination of President Pierre Nkurunziza for the controversial third term in April has since forced nearly 200, 000 Burundians to seek refuge in regional countries. Rwanda and Tanzania host the majority of the refugees.