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Escalating refugee crisis in Burundi - emergency situation is worsening 

Advisory Panel Member Roger Gomm reports from Rwanda, where says that his students are concerned about the worsening situation in Burundi and an escalating refugee crisis.

One of my students has informed me that his wife and two young children have been displaced from their home and are currently sheltering in a military camp. 

Over the weekend, the number of Burundian refugees crossing into Rwanda has jumped significantly, with more 5,000 refugees entering the country in just two days.

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Food insecurity has cast a shadow over Burundi in recent times. With the support of the Commission, UNHCR has installed cooking stoves for each of the families living here, and ensures the provision of charcoal briquettes every month, with the aim of helping to protect refugees. Now, Roger Gomm reports that the number of Burundian refugees crossing into Rwanda has jumped significantly (photo: EU/ECHO/Martin Karim)

According to the Government of Rwanda, since the beginning of April, nearly 21,000 Burundians, mostly women and children have fled to Rwanda, saying that they have experienced intimidation and threats of violence linked to the upcoming elections.

Last Saturday, the official list of candidates to run in the Burundian Presidential elections on June 26, was announced and this has sparked demonstrations and violence in the nation's capital.

The Government of Rwanda has allocated land in Mahama, in the Eastern Province to open a new refugee camp. UNHCR and its partners are working together, moving refugees to the new Mahama refugee camp in daily convoys of up to 1,500 people.

Owing to the sharp increase of new arrivals, the conditions in the two reception centers, Bugesera and Nyanza, have become more and more congested. 

Further information is available from the UNHCR  

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