Burundi: Population movement Emergency appeal n° MDRBI008 - 12 month operation update


By end 2012, the Tanzanian Government closed Mtabila refugee camp and revoked the refugee status for the majority of the Burundian refugees living there. Almost 34,000 Burundian refugees were repatriated, returning nearly 20 years later to a very different environment, without homes or livelihoods. Burundi Red Cross (BRC) in close cooperation with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Government rapidly responded to the most urgent needs during the re-integration process. The target beneficiaries are returnees going back to Nyanza Lac, Makamba, Kibago, Kayogoro, Mabanda, Rumonge, and Giharo (approximately 20,194 individuals in 3,366 households).

BRC responded through timely reception and orientation of returnees, psychosocial support, restoring family links (RFL) activities emergency health, and water, sanitation and hygiene. These activities were carried out by BRC during returnees’ transit to their new homes. Close follow up of the beneficiaries have been undertaken during the reintegration process within the host communities. BRC has during the process assisted with needs assessments and monitoring of the situation for the returnees, including undertaking regular surveys, and provided other agencies with the data for programming and addressing issues of concern. BRC has also responded to cholera outbreak in the areas where the appeal is implemented, with safe water, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities. Some livelihood activities have been initiated which will benefit the returnees and the communities.

The continuous movement of some of the target beneficiaries has made monitoring more challenging. Additionally, some of the returnees are now back in Tanzania, while others have opted to go to Uganda, Zambia, or Mozambique.

During August 2013, the situation for many Burundians in Tanzania worsened when the Tanzanian Government gave Burundians and Rwandese persons irregularly living in Tanzania a deadline of 14 days to leave the country - a deadline that expired on 18 August 2013. The threats of being expelled triggered new population movement from Tanzania to Burundi. During August 2013, around 1000 to 1500 persons per day arrived, and in end December about 24 persons cross the border every day. Many of the returnees arrive without any belongings, and find themselves in a vulnerable position, in need of sheltering and reception and re-integration support.

BRCs is revising the emergency appeal to respond to the needs of the groups of returnees forced back or voluntary returning to Burundi during the second half of 2013. The activities will be carried out in close coordination with other involved stakeholders, such as the government, United Nations (UN) agencies, International organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Focus of the intervention will be on provision of immediate assistance during transit and reintegration support, including livelihood. Water, sanitation, hygiene, and health interventions, and nutrition monitoring will also form part of the response, while restoring of family links (RFL) services will be carried out in close cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The IFRC, on behalf of the Burundi Red Cross, would like to thank all those that have contributed to this Emergency Appeal, including the British Red Cross, the Finnish Red Cross, the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Norwegian Red Cross, the Red Cross of Monaco and American Red Cross.