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Rwanda: Support Emergency Humanitarian Assistance to Refugees from Burundi

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1.1 Background

1.1.1. On 31 March 2015, tensions linked to the Burundi incumbent President’s decision to run for a third term in office beyond the constitutional limit prompted civil unrest. This led to the flight of the first wave of refugees to Rwanda. Initially, arrivals averaged 300 per day, but began to soar to over 3,000 per day in the third week of April 2015, following a failed Coup d’Etat that triggered fierce fighting in the capital between troops backing coup leaders and those loyal to the President. Furthermore, the violent crack-down on opposition activists against the ruling party bid for a third term led to a further inflow of more refugees into Rwanda.

1.1.2. Due to the high refugee turnover, Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) created two reception centers in Gashora and Muyira in Bugesera and Nyanza districts respectively to facilitate immediate emergency services. Both centers are near the Rwanda-Burundi border. With no resolution in sight, more refugees streamed in, prompting; MIDMAR to establish on 22 April 2015 a new refugee camp at Mahama in Kirehe district in the Eastern Province of Rwanda.

1.1.3. Statistics from UNHCR and MIDMAR indicate that Burundian refugees in both urban areas and Mahama refugee camp had edged slightly over 70,000 by September 2015.
In line with its international obligations, Rwanda is also a host to 74,000 Congolese refugees from different waves of violence and insecurity in the Eastern DRC.

1.1.4. The MIDMAR and other refugee agencies have been providing comprehensive services to Congolese refugee families in the five camps of; Gihembe, Kiziba, Nyabiheke, Kigeme and Mugombwa. The recent influx of more refugees from Burundi has however, escalated the demand for basic humanitarian services beyond the capacity of the Government of Rwanda to supply.

1.2 Justification for Emergency Assistance 1.2.1. Rwanda is a small hilly country with a surface area of 26,338km2 , and has a population density of (416 persons/ km2 ). Over 86% of this population depends on biomass as a source of energy, making it vulnerable to environmental degradation. In line with the country’s Green Growth and Climate Change Resilient Strategy and its international obligations to protect refugees, Rwanda must fulfill its obligations of promoting alternative sustainable energy use and provide emergency energy relief for refugees. In the context of the additional wave of refugees, Rwanda does not have adequate capacity to meet these objectives without emergency assistance from the international community.

1.2.2. The present Emergency Assistance proposal has been prepared in response to the appeal from the Government of Rwanda here to refereed as annex-2. The Appeal is in accordance with the Bank Group Policy Guidelines and is consistent with the current Bank Group provisions under the Revised Policy Guidelines for Emergency Relief Assistance, and General Regulations of the Special Relief Fund (ADB/BDIWP/2008/211).

1.2.3. The request falls under emergency criteria item (iii) emergency situation arising from Conflicts. The emergency situation is beyond the capacity of the Government and its agencies to handle without significant support from the international community.

1.2.4. The emergency support will contribute to:

a) Ensuring timely supply of fire wood in the refugee camps in order to mitigate the consequences related to the insufficient quantity of firewood as it results in conflicts with the host communities;

b) Promoting the use of alternative sources of energy such as the supply of energy saving cooking stoves to reduce biomass consumption and ensure environmental sustainability;