UN says funds to deal with growing number of refugees insufficient


The United Nations does not have enough money to assist the growing number of refugees fleeing Burundi, which now stands at more than a quarter million. The UN says its earlier request for more than 175 million dollars for the Burundi humanitarian response, has only been met by three percent, and is calling for more international donors to step up donations.

With more than 250 thousand Burundians having fled the crisis at home, neighboring Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia have been taking them in.

And these host countries are facing mounting funding challenges, a year since deadly protests broke out over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would run for a third term.

And with tensions still high in Burundi, the influx of refugees is expected to keep growing.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR says Tanzania has been hosting the most refugees, now at more than 130 thousand, averaging one thousand new arrivals every week.

Rwanda shelters the second-largest Burundian refugee population at more than 70 thousand, with more than 200 new arrivals per week.

All are under growing strain as camps and settlements face overcrowding and a lack of access to water.

A UN funding appeal for $175 million dollars this year has only received 4.7 million dollars¡­ about three percent of the total needed, which is far from enough to meet the increasing needs of the growing refugee population.

Most of the refugees are young women and children, with a disproportionately low number of young men, according to the UN refugee agency.

The lack of funds is also hampering access to health care, livelihoods, counseling and education, and the UN is asking for more urgent assistance.