(Xinhua) -- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
said the number of people fleeing to neighboring countries since
the political violence broke out in April last year in Burundi
has topped 300,000.
In a statement issued here Friday,
UNHCR said the refugees- principally from Muyinga, Makamba,
Cankuzo, Kirundo and Ruyigi provinces have fled to Tanzania,
Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda and Zambia in
search of asylum or international protection.
The refugees are fleeing violence, threats, extra judicial
killing, abduction, torture and persecution in the central
African country, according to the refugee agency.
Tanzania currently hosts 163,084 Burundian refugees, the
largest number in the region;
Uganda hosts 41,938 Burundian refugees;
Rwanda is home to more than 81,000 Burundian refugees;
DRC hosts more than 21,000 refugees
while Zambia has 1,700 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers.
"Although departure numbers have generally not been as high
as in 2015, there has been a constant flow this year, including
more than 20,000 in July and August," said UNHCR.
UNHCR expects the number of arrivals to continue to rise in
the remaining months of this year, while noting that aid
agencies will struggle to continue providing adequate shelter,
protection and life-saving services.
The agency noted that the reception capacities of the host
countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC, are
severely overstretched and conditions remain dire for many
refugees, most of whom are women and children.
"These worrying trends will persist as long as a solution to
the political crisis remains elusive, with far-reaching
humanitarian consequences in Burundi and the region," it said.
"To ensure that the refugees receive the assistance and
protection they need, UNHCR calls on the international community
to maintain efforts for peace and step up support for the
countries of asylum, particularly in areas such as shelter,
basic services, education, health and livelihoods."
The violence broke out in Bujumbura following President
Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to seek for a controversial third term