Refugee camp at ‘breaking point’

Burundian refugees being transported to Kigoma. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Burundian refugees being transported to Kigoma earlier this year. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

As more and more refugees continue to flock to Tanzania from Burundi, infrastructure at the Nyarugusu refugee camp is at a breaking point.

The overcrowded refugee camp at Nyarugusu has ‘reached breaking point,’ says Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator Sita Cacioppe.

“The refugees desperately need to be provided with new areas to settle, and basic services, so that they can live more dignified lives,” says Cacioppe.

Up to a 1,000 people are still crossing into Tanzania each day, and 78,000 Burundi refugees are being sheltered at Nyarugusu.

They have joined the existing 64,000 Congolese refugees who have been living there since 1997.

The camp was initially designed to host a maximum of 50,000 people, says Doctors Without Borders in a press release.

Services are overstretched and aid agencies are having difficulties providing food, water, shelter and health care.

“People are living for months at a time in mass shelters, intended as transit areas, while they wait for a tent,” says Cacioppe.

“Our teams have seen more than 200 people sheltering in a tent measuring just 8 x 22 meters — which is less than one square meter of space per person.”


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