UN supports Burundian refugees with $8 million

The United Nations has allocated $7.9 million (about Rwf5.4bn) toward the humanitarian response to the Burundian refugees in the country.
A Burudian child prepares a meal at Mahama refugee camp. ( All photos by Timothy Kisambira)
A Burudian child prepares a meal at Mahama refugee camp. ( All photos by Timothy Kisambira)

The United Nations has allocated $7.9 million (about Rwf5.4bn) toward the humanitarian response to the Burundian refugees in the country.

The fund was allocated through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), according to a statement from the UN Country Office.

UN Resident Coordinator Lamin Manneh said they are grateful for the urgently-needed funds that will bolster support to the Government of Rwanda’s response to the refugees.

“Rwanda has demonstrated commendable commitment to receive and support them, as it had in opening its doors to refugees from other neighbouring countries in earlier times,” Manneh is quoted as saying.

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Children play football at Mahama refugee camp. 60 percent of refugees are children.

The CERF contribution will support five UN agencies implementing life-saving activities, including in the areas of protection, shelter, food and nutrition, water and sanitation, and health.

“The contribution from CERF has enabled us to take the essential first steps in meeting the basic needs of Burundian refugees and ensuring their protection,” said Saber Azam, the country representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which leads the refugee response within the context of the One UN Rwanda, jointly with the Ministry for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR).

Since April, more than 27,000 refugees have been received in Rwanda after fleeing unrest in Burundi.

The refugees continue to arrive, reportedly in a state of malnutrition linked to their challenging journey.

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A side view of the Mahama refugee camp. Since March, more than 27,000 refugees have been received in Rwanda.

Given that nearly 60 per cent of the refugees are children, many without their parents or guardians, child protection is an essential component of the refugee response.

UNHCR and partners are providing essential services, including identification, documentation, tracing and reunification for separated and unaccompanied children, psycho-social support to children and their families and prevention and response to violence against children.

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A refugee at Mahama camp smile after getting firewood.

A high proportion of the women refugees are pregnant or new mothers, requiring targeted programmes in reproductive and maternal healthcare.

“While the CERF contribution is essential and substantial, much more is needed to support the Government of Rwanda to address fully the needs of refugees in the country,” said Azam.

The interagency Refugee Response Plan for Rwanda released on May 22 presents total needs of over $94 million for UN agencies and non-governmental organisations to respond to the Burundi refugee emergency in Rwanda, which is already hosting over 74,000 Congolese refugees in five camps.