INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Tanzania has been a consistent and generous host to millions of refugees over the years. The country has supported UNHCR and partners in all three durable solutions - from voluntary repatriation to countries of origin, resettlement to other countries willing to share the burden of displacement, to the unprecedented gift of citizenship for almost 200,000 former 1972 Burundian refugees. The test of time did not weaken the generosity; when the ongoing political tension in Burundi caused thousands of Burundians to flee to Tanzania.
By 31 December 2015, some 123,210 newly arrived refugees crossed into Tanzania with children below the age of 18 making up over half (58%) of the new arrivals.
Since the end of April 2015, once the restriction preventing asylum-seekers from coming to Tanzania was lifted by Burundi officials, a continuous influx of thousands entered the country through Kagunga, a small village located on a peninsula stretching into Lake Tanganyika. The living conditions on the village were deplorable.
As a result of lack of sufficient services, a serious Cholera outbreak emerged, leading to the loss of 30 refugees. At the time, UNHCR’s efforts, in consultation and agreement with the Tanzanian Government and Partners, were mainly directed at evacuating refugees from the Kagunga peninsula, in order to take them to appropriate transit/reception centres in Kigoma and eventually to safety in Nyarugusu camp. In addition to refugees’ relocation from Kagunga, which amounted to 33,000 by 30 June 2015, there were 44 other entry points from where refugees were relocated to Nyarugusu. The number relocated from these 44 entry points total 34,000.
Prior to this influx of Burundian refugees, Tanzania had only one remaining refugee camp;
Nyarugusu. Accommodating just over 65,000 mainly Congolese (DRC) refugees, Nyarugusu was soon to shelter thousands of Burundian refugees with the newly arrived reaching the 100,000 mark by 1 October 2015, swelling the camp population to over three times its capacity and making Nyarugusu one of the largest and most overcrowded camps in the world.
This congestion resulted in the Government agreeing to open three former refugee camps – Nduta, Mtendeli and Karago camps. Consequently, a relocation exercise from Nyarugusu to Nduta camp to ease congestion was initiated.
UNHCR aims to ensure that all refugees are able to fulfil their rights in accessing life-saving and essential primary health care, HIV prevention, protection and treatment, reproductive health services, food security and nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene services.
The focus of this 3 year strategy is not limited to the emergency phase but extends to a possible protracted phase as well. The strategy is developed following series of meetings and consultations with refugees (participatory assessments), Ministry of Health Community Development Gender Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) hereinafter known as MOH, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the health and nutrition partners working in the refugee program.