Refugee camps at breaking point

Burundian refugees being transported to Kigoma. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Burundian refugees being transported to Kigoma in 2015. As refugees continue to pour into Tanzania, camps have been pushed to the limit. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Cramped conditions, overstretched resources and heavy rains are pushing Tanzania’s refugee camps to their breaking point.

“When you have so many people living in such close quarters and in poor hygiene conditions, outbreaks of disease such as malaria and cholera become threats,” says International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) health coordinator Adinoyi Adeiza.

In November, NGOs warned that they were already seeing an influx of water-borne diseases such as watery diarrhea.

“It would not take much for an outbreak to run rampant through the camps or extend into host communities. With the current heavy rainfall, we are continuing to distribute mosquito nets and raise awareness about proper hygiene throughout the camps,” says Adeiza.

In April, a cholera outbreak in the refugee camps claimed 33 lives.

To date, over 127,000 refugees have arrived in Tanzania from Burundi as tensions continue to escalate.

Available resources have been stretched to the limit and a funding campaign has been 29 percent funded, says IFRC operations coordinator, Andreas Sandin.

Read more: Burundi refugees brace for floods, cholera

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