IOM provides assistance to asylum seekers and refugees fleeing Burundi for Tanzania

News Hour:

For 14 months since April 2015 political instability in Burundi has led to tens of thousands of Burundians, and other Third Country Nationals (TCNs) residing there, to flee the country and seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Over 140,000 asylum seekers and refugees have sought haven in Tanzania since the start of this crisis. These individuals have been provided with safe and dignified transportation and relocation assistance by IOM Tanzania as the lead agency of the transportation sector within the United Nations Country Management Team.

The figure includes 110,000 asylum seekers and refugees transported from entry points along the border between Tanzania and Burundi (such as Mabamba, Kigadye and Kagunga) to Nyarugusu, Nduta, and Mtendeli refugee camps, which are located in Kasulu, Kibondo, and Kakonko districts, respectively. Additionally, nearly 30,000 Burundian refugees have been relocated from Nyarugusu to Nduta and Mtendeli refugee camps. Relocation to Mtendeli refugee camp has paused as the location has now exceeded its intended capacity.

Prior to each movement, IOM’s medical teams conduct fit-to-travel screenings of refugees and asylum seekers. When the teams identify medical cases, care is provided. Complicated medical cases are referred to hospitals for secondary medical care and management. The five top medical conditions among the transported and relocated asylum seekers and refugees are malaria, malnutrition, fractures, skin infections and upper respiratory tract infections. Additionally, women among the new arrivals at different child-bearing ages receive ante-intra and post-natal care.

“Although the number of new arrivals has been reduced drastically compared with the start of the crisis, the influx from Burundi into Tanzania continues,” said Dr. Qasim Sufi, the IOM Chief of Mission in Tanzania.

“It is overstretching the response-capacity of the humanitarian community in Tanzania, which already is hosting a caseload of over 60,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi.”

Mridha Shihab Mahmud

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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