Burundi: Fearful and desperate, refugees flee unrest

| May 25, 2015

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The United Nations refugee agency, or UNHCR, says that more than 110,000 people have fled Burundi. Many fear that the current political crisis could descend into a bout of ethnic violence.

After a failed coup last week, few expect the flow of refugees to slow. Most have gone south to Tanzania, but 27,000 have sought safety to the north in Rwanda, and 9,000 have travelled west to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to a UNHCR spokesperson in Kagunga, Tanzania, seven people have died since the evacuees began arriving, and three hundred people are suffering from acute diarrhoea. Tanzanian authorities also confirmed an outbreak of cholera, which suggests that the death toll could rise.

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Photo: A Burundian refugee girl collects water on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kagunga village as they gather in Kigoma region of western Tanzania, to wait for MV Liemba to transport them to Kigoma township, May 17, 2015. Credit: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya