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Burundi: outflow from DRC continuing

Briefing notes

Burundi: outflow from DRC continuing

18 June 2004

Refugees fleeing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo continue to cross the border into Burundi, where an estimated 25,000 have already sought safety since June 9. We are asking the government to provide additional land where Congolese refugees could be sheltered. The government has agreed in principle, and consultations are underway.

Hundreds of new refugees are arriving daily at Cibitoke, while further south at Gatumba, the situation appears to be stabilising with no recent arrivals. We have dispatched a senior emergency officer to Bujumbura and will be deploying additional emergency staff to Burundi in the coming days.

Some 1,600 refugees are staying in 25 hangars which have been set up at Rugumbo. At Karurama, 2 km from Cibitoke, 3,000 refugees are sheltering in hangars built on land provided by the Burundian authorities who have given us the green light to extend this campsite to shelter 3,000 more refugees. On Wednesday, one-week food rations from WFP were distributed at the sites and mobile clinics are already up and running to provide health care.

The sites where the refugees are currently staying should only be used for a short time because of their proximity to the border. We plan to start moving the refugees away from the border tomorrow, with a first convoy from Rugumbo to Songore transit camp which had previously been used for returning Burundi refugees. Some 800 refugees could be accommodated at Songore. We also plan to transfer some 2,000 refugees to Gasorwe refugee camp, which already hosts around 8,000 Congolese refugees who fled in previous years.