Burundi refugees in Tanzania

Burundi refugees in Tanzania — ACT Alliance/CWS

Nearly 240,000 people have fled Burundi since political unrest and violence began in April 2015.Following increased unrest in December, thousands of refugees are moving from their homes seeking safety.In addition to persecution because of political and social group affiliation, Burundians increasingly face food insecurity and environmental degradation as a consequence of civil unrest.


Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is supporting our ecumenical partners ACT Alliance. ACT member CWS is taking the lead in responding to this crisis in Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.


CWS continues to lead the ACT Alliance response in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, which is home to 85,000 Burundian refugees and 62,000 Congolese refugees despite its intended capacity of 50,000. Partnering with Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service, CWS is expanding water and sanitation facilities, which are essential in overcrowded conditions. These expansions include purchasing and installing water storage tanks that supply 10,000 gallons of water daily, distributing 10,000 jerry cans and constructing latrines and bathing facilities. Additionally, protection and psychosocial services are being provided.

The response in Tanzania has been extended to include Nduta and Mtendeli camps, new camps that opened in late 2015. A new borehole well has been drilled in Mtendeli Refugee Camp, which will soon be home to 35,000 Burundian refugees. Training to raise awareness of human rights and prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is being provided in Nduta.


The two cities of Kigali and Huye in Rwanda host an estimated 25,000 Burundians who have fled to Rwanda since the middle of 2015. CWS partnered with YWCA Rwanda and is developing an urban response program to connect refugees with social and financial capital needed for independence. YWCA Rwanda also conducted a street theater campaign focused on reducing SGBV.


Burundi is home to refugees who fled from crises in neighboring countries, particularly the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through the work of the CWS-operated Resettlement Support Center Africa, 2,500 Congolese refugees in Burundi are able to access resettlement to the U.S. With humanitarian access to Burundi now limited, CWS is working with UNHCR to identify other means of assisting resettlement applicants inside Burundi.


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