Tanzania faces mounting refugee pressures

Burundian refugees arriving in Tanzania

Burundian refugees arriving in Tanzania

A total of 129, 210 Burundi nationals have fled their country into Tanzania following violence in the tiny East African Nation which erupted early last year.

An additional 105 others who fled their country before April had submitted letters at Tanzania’s Home Affairs’ Immigration department seeking to be registered as refugees,” a statement issued by the ministry said on Monday.

Isaac Nantanga, Home Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said today that 79,250 Burundians are now sheltered at Nyarugusu refugee camp in Kigoma while 45,487 and 4,543 others are hosted at Dunta and Kankonko camps in the region respectively.

“We’re working together with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and other players to offer basic services including health, food, security and water to all refugees in camps,” Nantanga said.

“The number is part of the already existing number of refugees who had been in camps before April last year,” he added.
Records from the home affairs ministry shows there are 61,887 Congolese at Nyarugusu camp, 150 Somalis, and 189 refugees from various countries.

According to the spokesperson, Tanzania had 191,436 refugees as of February 10th this year.

On foreigners who had been in the country before April, Nantaga highlights that about 815 applications for refugee status have been processed by Tanzania’s National Eligibility Committee (NEC).

“Among the applicants, 735 are from DRC, 25 from Burundi, 14 from Rwanda, 15 Yemen, 18 Syria, 3 Iran, 2 Kenya and 3 from Eritrea.” he said adding that “There are 147 new applications 24 from Yemen, 13 from Syria, 3 from Somalia, 6 from Rwanda, 18 from DRC, 2 from Uganda, 1 from South Sudan and 80 from Burundi.”

The new refugee figures come barely two months after international NGOs warned over a worsening health and shelter crisis for Burundian refugees in Tanzania.

Aid agencies including the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), Oxfam, Save the Children, HelpAge International, International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Plan International cautioned over an increased influx of refugees across the border owing to the escalating political instability inside Burundi.

Reports also said that the latest influx of Burundian refugees in the western Tanzanian Camp in Kigoma—Nyarugusu had overwhelmed its capacity