EU ups humanitarian support for Burundian refugees in the EAC

Burundian refugees at Kigoma waiting to be transported to camps.

Burundian refugees at Kigoma waiting to be transported to camps.

The European Union (EU) Commission has released another Euro 4.5million (about Rwf4billion) to support the Burundian refugees now living in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and DR Congo.

More than 170,000 Burundians have been forced out their homes and country by the political instability that has paralyzed the East African nation since April.

The new disbursement handed over by Michael Ryan, the EU representative to Rwanda, brings the total refugee aid to the region to 56.5 million euros so far this year.

“This additional EU humanitarian funding will help neighboring countries accommodate refugees and meet their most urgent needs,” EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides was quoted as saying.

In May 2015, the Commission released Euros 1.5million as part of the support to the Rwandan government to cope with the Burundian refugee influx.

The funding however comes at a time when reports indicate that the numbers of urban and camp refugees in Rwanda are dropping slightly.

The reason of the drop in refugee numbers according to experts is the relative calm that has followed Burundi’s electoral process.

About 100 people have died in protests and widespread violence since the ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for Defense and Democracy (CNDD-FDD) nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza for the controversial third term.

President Nkurunziza has own the third term, the constitutional court has validated the election results, and his main challenger Agathon Rwasa has been elected first deputy speaker of the National Assembly.