16 May, 2015 - Approximately 100,000 people, the vast majority of whom are women and children, have fled violent clashes in Burundi to neighbouring Great Lakes countries including Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The number of refugees is expected to rise, as the situation in Burundi remains volatile.

“Many of the children arriving at the borders are in poor health, are unaccompanied or have been separated from their families, said Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, Unicef Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “They are in urgent need of basic shelter, food, health and protection services.” 

In Tanzania more than 70,000 refugees have arrived, with most currently gathering at the Kagunga reception area where they are slowly being transported to the Nyarugusu camp by boat, then trucks.

In Rwanda, the majority of the 26,000
Burundian refugees are being hosted at the Mahama camp.

The DRC has seen an influx of more 9,000 refugees and most are being accommodated in host families, while a small number are in transit sites.

Refugees at transit sites in Tanzania and DRC are at particular risk of disease outbreaks, such as cholera, due to very poor sanitary and living conditions. Unicef is working to improve the sanitation in these areas, in addition to providing water purification kits and buckets to families.

Most of the children arriving require special protection services. Unicef and partners are registering and caring for unaccompanied and separated children.
In each of the affected countries, Unicef is on the ground working with partners to provide basic healthcare, nutrition, water, sanitation, child protection and education services. As more refugees arrive there is an urgent need to scale up life-saving services.


Notes for editors:

For further information please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk