The influx of 70,000 Burundian refugees to Tanzania is overstretching the capacity of the government of Tanzania and aid agencies to respond, as emergency aid workers struggle to meet the urgent demands of providing clean water, shelter and food to new arrivals, Oxfam warned today.
Existing Nyarugusu camp is already beyond capacity, with schools and churches being turned into temporary accommodation while more appropriate shelter can be built. Families who have made the long journey from Burundi via the border town Kagunga, where many spent up to three weeks in exposed, cramped conditions, are now either sheltering with hundreds of others in schools, or under trees to escape the hot sun.
The Government and aid agencies are working hard to meet basic needs, but more funds are urgently needed in order to purchase essential materials such as tents, water pipes, water storage tanks and medical supplies.
“People are thirsty and tired; many are sick. They’ve gone through so much already just to get to this point, and what they need now is clean water, food and a place to sleep. Oxfam is ready to scale up its response but we urgently need funds to do so,” said Oxfam Tanzania Country Director Jane Foster.
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, so educating people about how the disease is transmitted, and how to avoid this, is critical.
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