As of June, Rwanda was host to 149,149 refugees, including 71,973 refugees from Burundi who had fled insecurity and political unrest. Women and children make up 72 per cent of population. Some 60,000 are living Mahama refugee camp established in 2015. The remaining Burundian refugees are living in urban areas, mainly in Kigali and Huye, while others reside in other camps and reception centres. With the Burundian refugee population having been in Rwanda for five years and continuing to grow, emergency facilities established in 2015 are deteriorating and need rehabilitation.
The verification exercise in Mahama was completed on 17 January with 96 per cent of all refugees in Mahama verified. The camp population remains quite stable with few new arrivals (652 between January and June 2020), limited spontaneous departures and a small number of no shows (2,500 refugees did not show up were inactivated in the database).
The camp which was built to host up to 60,000 people is now at full capacity. The verification exercise was coupled with an intention survey which confirmed a very low prospect for return to Burundi in 2020, at least not before the general elections in May. During the reporting period, RRRP partners updated the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan for the Burundi Situation with the Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA), other relevant government departments and partners. This plan includes emergency preparedness activities and specific measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in case of a mass influx of refugees into Rwanda. Due to the huge radius of the common border between the two countries, the government identified 13 sites for the purpose of establishing transit/reception centres and one site for a new camp.
As of end June, there were no reported cases of COVID-19 in Mahama camp which continues to be in lockdown since 16 June as a precautionary measure, and only essential services are being provided to refugees. Despite these limitations, RRRP partners continue to ensure that refugees fleeing from Burundi have access to essential protection services and humanitarian assistance in multi-sectoral areas.