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sabato 1 agosto 2015

East Africa: EU Increases Humanitarian Aid for Burundi Refugees

All Africa
The European Commission is releasing €4.5 million in humanitarian assistance to help the growing number of Burundian refugees in neighbouring countries, including Rwanda.

More than 175,000 people, the majority of them women and children, are estimated to have fled Burundi since April, citing intimidation, threats and fear of violence ahead of last week's presidential election.

In a statement issued yesterday, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, said the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Burundi cannot be overlooked.

"Refugee numbers have gone up in the last three months, which is a serious cause of concern... This additional EU humanitarian funding will help neighbouring countries accommodate refugees and meet their most urgent needs. It is a strong signal of the EU's solidarity with the most vulnerable people caught in a difficult situation beyond their control," said Stylianides.

He commended "the generous hospitality of the countries in the region who have welcomed their Burundian neighbours."

Michael Ryan, the head of the EU Delegation in Rwanda, said: "I am proud to announce another release of EU humanitarian funding. The €4.5 million will go solely to assist in the Burundi refugee crisis. It is well needed, Rwanda has so far welcomed more than 71 ,000 refugees. The EU is committed to continue its support of Rwanda and the neighbouring countries in this crisis."

The increase in funding brings the total humanitarian aid for the Great Lakes region for 2015 to €56.5 million.

The aid released for Burundi refugees since the end of April when their numbers started growing amounts to about €9 million.

Certain refugee camps have become overpopulated and health risks have increased.

There has been a continuing inflow of Burundian refugees in Rwanda, Tanzania, the DR Congo and Uganda since April.

Tanzania is so far the main hosting country, with nearly 80,000 Burundian refugees, followed by Rwanda (71,158), the DR Congo (13,368), and Uganda (11,165).

The most urgent humanitarian needs to address are shelter, water and sanitation, as well as health services to stop a possible surge of diseases, especially epidemics, notably cholera.

Overpopulation of certain refugee camps is also a major concern as the rainy season looms.

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