UNHCR in need of funds to maintain refugees in neighbouring countries

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported that it is in need of $296 million for this year. Photo: UNHCR

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (ADV) – The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported that it is in need of $296 million for this year.

As there are 345,000 Burundian refugees living in a frantic state in neighbouring countries like Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, UNHCR said the funds will provide food, education and psychological care.

The agency’s spokesperson Charlie Yaxley said Burundian refugees are in dire straits because the world pays scant attention to their plight and responds poorly to appeals for aid.

“Women and girls are suffering high levels of sexual and gender-based violence and exploitation,” said Yaxley.

“Last year, food cuts were implemented in Tanzania, DRC and Rwanda. Families have been regularly left without enough food to last until the end of the month. And this has seen women and girls resorting to negative coping mechanisms, including survival sex, and forced and early marriage.”

He further said many children have become separated from their families while fleeing from Burundi. Many are traumatized from the violence they have witnessed as there is little money to provide them with the psychological and social care they need.

The UNHCR said it does not believe conditions in Burundi are currently conducive to promote returns. It added that nobody now should be returned to Burundi without his or her “full and informed consent.”

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