The Burundi Red Cross at the rescue of Congolese Asylum Seekers.

THE BIG PICTURE: Recently, there has been observed the massive influx of Congolese refugees in Burundi, who are fleeing the restive parts of the eastern DR Congo, where regular clashes between DR Congo military and militants occur and claiming countless of lives.

The influx of several Congolese refugees to Burundi is observed in the North Western part of Burundi in the Province of Cibitoki at the Cishemere transit camp in the North-Western of Burundi.

Red Cross Burundi at the rescue of these Congolese refugees.

The Cishemere transit camp in Cibitoke province is witnessing a massive influx of Congolese asylum seekers in recent days. Indeed, throughout the first week of October 2018, a hundred Congolese were hosted by the Burundi Red Cross, which runs the Cishemere transit camp on a daily basis, as reported by Red Cross Burundi.

This new situation brings to 706 the number of Congolese asylum seekers for a transit camp whose reception capacity only slightly exceeds these numbers.

The Burundi Red Cross participates in the reception, pre-registration and psychosocial assistance for each new asylum seeker, while also ensuring the day-to-day management of the camp, including the supply of drinking water and distribution of NFIs (Non-Food Items).

More than 17,000 Congolese asylum seekers have been received and assisted since March 2013 and then transferred to Kavumu camp as recognized refugees on Burundian soil. “I do not know what to say, I received food and non-food, care and support needed during my pregnancy that was eventually arriving here,” Yandora Nyangabire testified to the Red Cross. This mother of four kids encourages the Burundi Red Cross to keep the same humanitarian spirit.

The synergy of management and coordination actions is provided in collaboration with ONUPRA, UNHCR, IRC, GVC, COPED, WFP, and the Burundi Red Cross.

The transit camp exceeded the required number of asylum seekers.

Today, more than ever, the pressing logistical and administrative needs of the 706 registered Congolese asylum seekers are being felt. Indeed, the capacity of Cishemere transit camp could be exceeded soon, reports Red Cross.

The massive influx of Congolese asylum seekers on Burundian territory is due to fightings in the Democratic Republic of Congo, not far from the border with Burundi.

One magazine reported that the war in the Eastern part of the DRC has been protracting for many years, which could make the ‘forgotten war‘ with the international observers accusing the United Nations and other humanitarian NGOs of sitting idly while thousands of lives are being decimated silently by this seemingly unending war.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Burundi government has been partnering with some humanitarian NGOs such as Red Cross to assist the Congolese refugees which keep pouring in Burundi due to heavy fightings in DR Congo, eastern side. Some refugees are transferred to permanent Congolese refugees camps from the transit center, others still prefer to return to their motherland.

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