Burundi refugees exceed 105,000 - over 70,000 in Tanzania alone

The number of refugees arriving in Tanzania has risen exponentially over the past week as people pour over Burundi’s borders, with new arrivals citing fear of violence and intimidation as primary reasons for leaving. Tens of thousands are in urgent need of clean water, health care, food and shelter. Without these basic needs being met, the risk of disease spreading among new arrivals is dangerously high. 

Over 70,000 refugees, mostly women and children, are estimated to have arrived at Kagunga beach, a rugged beach shore on the border between Burundi and Tanzania on Lake Tanganyika. They are being moved by boat to Kigoma, where they are registered before being bussed to Nyarugusu camp. Risk of disease outbreak is dangerously high due to lack of clean water and adequate sanitation. 

Oxfam teams are arriving to provide material and technical support to deliver life-saving clean water, construct latrines, as well as to educate the refugee population about the crucial importance of good hygiene in preventing disease. Oxfam is in the process of scaling up our response. 

The aid agency is monitoring the fast-changing political situation in Burundi, which could have a huge impact on people both in the country and across the region if it becomes a major conflict.

Oxfam Tanzania Country Director Jane Foster said: “Tens of thousands of people who have fled their homes in Burundi are in urgent need of shelter, water and decent sanitation to keep them safe and stop disease spreading in overcrowded conditions. Oxfam teams are currently working hard to provide clean water and toilets to refugees in emergency camps in Tanzania."

Notes to editors

Contact information

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

  • Aimee Brown in Kigoma, Tanzania on +255 768 256 267 or abrown@oxfam.org.uk
  • Ngele Mwarimbo Ali in Nairobi on +254 725 455 701 or nmwarimbo-ali@oxfam.org.uk

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.