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Burundi refugee crisis

Fear of violence and intimidation is forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. There are now over 110,000 refugees from Burundi in Tanzania.

Tens of thousands are in urgent need of clean water, adequate sanitation, health care, food and shelter.

Without these basic needs being met, the risk of disease is dangerously high. Oxfam is there, but funds are urgently needed to provide essential materials such as tents, water pipes, water storage tanks and medical supplies.

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Photo: James Akena

Oxfam's response

Tanzamia is hosting over 110,000 Burundians within two camps, Nyarugusu and Nduta, and more refugees are arriving in their hundreds every day. Many people are still living in overcrowded mass shelters months after their arrival, where wet floors and cramped conditions mean that the risk of respiratory infections and waterborne diseases is high. If arrival numbers spike in the coming weeks and the current lack of funding continues, the crisis will only get worse. 

Jane Foster, Oxfam's Country Director in Tanzania, said: "Nyarugusu camp is already the third largest refugee camp in the world, and Nduta is growing by the day, yet the situation for Burundians in Tanzania is struggling for attention and adequate funding." 

Oxfam is responding in Kagunga and Nyarugusu refugee camp, working with local partners TWESA to provide enough clean water for all, as well as building more toilets and carrying out hygiene education among the refugee community to reduce the risk of the spread of disease. Cholera has been confirmed in both locations, with over 200 cholera cases in one camp, so educating people about how the disease is transmitted, and how to avoid this, is critical.


Oxfam staff in Tanzania load water and sanitation equipment onto a lorry in preparation for the arrival of Burundian refugees.

Photo: Bill Marwa