Burundian refugees in Mahama camp have extoled the efforts of the government of Rwanda and UNHCR to respond to their most critical needs in health and education by providing adequate and modern infrastructures.
Since November, the total number of Burundian refugees in Rwanda remained stable, with a low number of new arrivals.
Nearly 46,000 refugees are now living in Mahama camp (30,000 in the original camp, and 16,000 in the extended camp); transition to semi-permanent housing is ongoing.
Attendance at the education orientation programme increased by 25% from 11,000 to 14,000 students in the past month.
• Since September the total number of Burundian refugees in Rwanda did not increase significantly. New arrivals were low, peaking at 100 on 21 October.
• The relocation of refugees from reception centres is completed with approximately 45,000 now living in Mahama refugee camp (30,000 in the original camp, and 15,000 in the extended camp).
• As a result of the joint social mobilization efforts, the attendance rate of children in education services significantly increased from 61% to 82% in the past month.
The average influx of refugees from Burundi to Rwanda remains at 150 people per day in the last 15 days. The total number has now reached 75,327.
The relocation of refugees from the reception centres to Mahama camp is progressing well with about 1,000 refugees being relocated daily to Mahama Refugee Camp.
A new refugee camp site (Mahama 1) is being established to accommodate an additional 15,000 refugees. The existing refugee camp will still be called Mahama.
The registered population of Mahama camp has surged passed the 40,000 mark. Additional growth is certain in coming days with continued convoys from Bugesera Reception Center. The camp population has increased by more than 8,900 during August an increase of 28%.
Summary of WFP assistance:
WFP provides food assistance with the aim of improving food and nutrition security among food insecure households.
UNHCR led an interagency meeting on relocation in which agencies agreed that all partners and services should& be prepared to handle up to 1,000 new arrivals per day, 5 days per week, for the next 2 weeks. Between 10 - 18 August, 5,473 refugees have been relocated to Mahama.
The influx of refugees from Burundi to Rwanda remains steady, with an average influx of 300 people per day in the last couple of days. The total number has now reached 72,907.
The shelter strategy was revised, and the relocation of up to 19,000 refugees from reception centres to Mahama camp has started.
While UNICEF works to provide a permanent solution for water provision, Akagera river water continues to be treated for local water supply.
- Relocation of new arrivals to Mahama camp resumed on August and will continue until the Nyagatare transit center and both reception centers (Bugesera and Nyanza) are emptied; there are currently 17,500 refugees waiting to move to Mahama.
- The first convoy departed from the overcrowded Nyanza reception center, with 1,033 passengers traveling on Monday (pictured top right).
During the weekly Refugee Coordination Meeting,in consultation with all UN and NGO partners, UNHCR and MIDIMAR made the decision to erect hangars and install temporary pit latrines in Mahama camp in order to accelerate relocation of over 15,000 refugees from the reception centres. In the meantime, UNHCR's partners continue to construct semi-permanent structures in the camp as a longer term solution.
Rwanda continued to receive a steady influx of refugees from Burundi. The total number has now reached 71,485.
The shelter strategy is being revised to accommodate the large number of refugees in hangars, tents and semi-permanent facilities.
Alternative modes of providing water to the growing number of refugees are being put in place, while working on permanent/sustainable solutions.
Negotiations are ongoing to ensure refugee children’s participation in national education examinations.
The total number of Burundian refugees has now reached 68,665.
Partners are preparing for a larger influx of refugees in the lead up to Burundi’s presidential elections, postponed until 21 July.
A six-month basic education orientation programme for Burundian children has started at Mahama Refugee Camp.
An increasing number of children are benefitting from the child friendly spaces (CFS) programme, with up to 8,500 now attending.
Cases of severe acute malnutrition have reduced.
After peaking last week before Burundi's parliamentary elections, the rate of newarrivals has since gone down. Refugees have reported a significant increase in checkpoints and blockades by Imbonerakure. UNHCR remains on high alert for a possible increase, depending on whether the presidential elections are scheduled to take place 15 July, despite recommendations by regional leaders to postpone the elections until the end of the month.
As of mid-June, more than 30,000 refugees, 77 per cent of whom were children and women, had crossed into Rwanda fearing violence due to political instability in Burundi. With the continued volatility related to forthcoming elections in Burundi, it is estimated that 100,000 refugees may enter the country by September 2015. Refugee children are arriving in poor health, some severely malnourished and highly vulnerable to disease.