United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and partners have launched an appeal for $222.6 million to assist more than 315,000 Burundian refugees in 2021.

The appeal includes funding to step up voluntary, safe and dignified return for those who choose to repatriate, and is complemented by a Joint Refugee Return and Reintegration Plan.

The plan covers returnee receptions and monitoring along with reintegration support in Burundi.

Burundi, which is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world.

It is understood that rising unemployment and the collapse of social services have resulted in a sharp deterioration in living conditions in the country.

In its appeal for funding, the UN agency cited a political crisis in 2015 that had constrained Burundi’s peacebuilding and social cohesion.

The crisis resulted in international sanctions that led to market instability, price increases, food insecurity and supply shortages.

Moreover, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita stood at a meagre $267, according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) October 2020 World Economic Outlook.

‘Increased international support is crucial to ensure Burundian refugees receive meaningful protection and care in neighbouring countries’, UNHCR Regional Director for the East, Horn of Africa and Great Lakes, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, said in a statement.

For nearly seven years, neighbouring Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have hosted refugees from Burundi.

The 2021 Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plan seeks critical support to provide food, shelter and education, as well as access to health care and water.

Source: UN News

Photo source: UNHCR East, Horn of Africa and Great Lakes

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