CONTINUING INCREASE OF REFUGEES IN TANZANIA
The first month of the new Millennium has seen thousands of refugees arriving daily in Tanzania. This influx has already compelled UNHCR to open Camp Karago in Kibondo district in December 1999.
This sudden increase in numbers is due to the deteriorating situation in Burundi, caught up in a six-year long civil war. During the last months of 1999 the increase of Burundians seeking a safe haven in Tanzania was already visible. Since October 1999 some 50,000 refugees have arrived, with 22,000 arriving in December alone. There are no indications that the current flow of 600 to 700 Burundians arriving daily will decrease in the near future.
The bulk of these refugees arrive through the way-stations - established in Kibondo district - from neighbouring Ruyigi Province in Burundi.
The majority of the people in Karago Camp are single mothers and some 450 unaccompanied minors have been identified. Over 50 children have been successfully reunited through on-the-spot tracing. In addition, there are over 5,000 children of primary school age in the Camp.
Karago Camp has been hosting malnourished children since its opening. After intervention by UNICEF medical personnel in special feeding centres in the camps, most of these children have recovered. Some 65 children under five have been admitted to the feeding centre and about 20 are still in need of assistance.
In addition to the large Burundian influx, some 300 Congolese refugees are entering western Tanzania each week. At the end of January, Tanzania was host to some 450,000 refugees.
The humanitarian situation in western Tanzania is dependent on the developments in neighboring countries. In the DRC, the Lusaka peace accord has slowed due to continued fighting. Likewise, the Burundian peace talks - now chaired by Nelson Mandela - have been slow to produce results. However, there is hope in the region that the renewed attention of the Security Council will be a first step towards of peace.
Since the establishment of Karago Camp UNICEF has:
- Provided the necessary supplies to vaccinate all children and assist in deworming.
- Established an ORT corner (Oral rehydration treatment) and supply ORS (Oral Rehydration Salt) for malnourished children.
- Provided a tent to serve as a provisional dispensary.
- Distributed buckets and jerry cans to needy families.
- Identified the need for training of EPI workers, and TBAs.
- Identified the training needs for NGO personnel at the way-stations that are performing a preliminary health screening.
Besides the direct response to the new influx of refugees there are ongoing programmes dealing with both the refugees in the Tanzanian camps and the affected local communities. Nearly two-thirds of the 450,000 refugees in the Tanzanian camps in Kigoma and Kagera, are children under five, pregnant and lactating women, children of primary school age, and unaccompanied minors.
In order to maintain and improve the overall health of the refugees, UNICEF, in collaboration with various partners, is continuing clinical and school-based health training, which has helped reduce child and maternal mortality rates.
The identification and treatment of sick children has improved radically by the implementation of IMCI (Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses). At the same time the Extended Programme for Immunisation (EPI) continues to be effective.
Over 90,000 children participated in UNICEF's education programme so far.
An increase in the number of classrooms, the provision of sufficient materials, and implementation of a more child centred policy have made it possible for about 90,000 children (representing an average 80% rate of enrolment), to obtain basic primary education.
3. Impact of Under-Funding
A lack of adequate programme funding remains an obstacle. Funding is not always continuous and strict project targeting precludes the necessary flexibility.
Adolescent education programmes are lacking the necessary funds. The Cross-border collaboration on the recognition of exam results have been difficult to maintain due to the Burundian government's decision to halt this. A lack of funds has also prevented effective action targeting the disabled - clearly one of the most vulnerable groups. Kasulu Camp was the only camp where funds were available to assess the needs of these children.
4. Appeal requirements for 2000
UNICEF will continue to focus on children and women in the areas of health, education, child protection, and water and sanitation. Health workers will be continuously trained and refugees will be further sensitized.
In Kibondo, where the nutrition and health conditions were inadequate, UNICEF's Child Survival, Protection and Development Programme (CSPD) will receive increased support this year. Preparations have also been made to launch CSPD programmes in Kasulu and Ngara.
More emphasis will be placed on HIV/AIDS education in school-based programmes and Mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) issues, closely involving both the refugees as well as the local community.
The community based peace and conflict resolution programme (PCRP) is being integrated into the education programme and will include the improvement of life-skills.
Children in Need of Special Protection Measures (CNSPM) will continue to be a major focus area, including the on-going photo tracing of unaccompanied minors. The establishment of child protection centres will help in raising the awareness of these children about their rights.
Disabled children have few opportunities for training, or the materials necessary to improve their situation. There is a felt need to work more forcefully for these children in the coming year.
Summary of 2000 Requirements
In order to ensure the implementation of children and women's rights UNICEF will focus on children of pre-/primary school age, pregnant and lactating mothers, and especially vulnerable groups (e.g. low birth-weight babies, children with HIV/AIDS, unaccompanied minors).
During the year 2000, UNICEF will continue to build on the programme initiated last year. The basic programme sectors of health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation, and child protection were all expanded to include a strong focus on HIV/AIDS and community based Child Survival, Protection and Development. The focus this year will continue to be on basic medical help to ensure the survival of both refugee children and the children living in affected local communities.
|Planned UNICEF activities||Priority funding required (US$)|
|Health and Nutrition||
|Hygiene, Water & Sanitation||
|Refugee Affected Communities||
For further information please contact:
UNICEF Country office
Tel: + 55 51 851 112
Fax: + 55 51 151 603
Tel: + 41 22 909 5554
Fax: + 41 22 909 5902
Tel: 1 212 326 7009
Fax: 1 212 3267165
For more information, visit UNICEF's website at http://www.unicef.org