Appeal Update #1: Tanzania Burundian Refugee Crisis

July 21, 2015

Appeal #642-R
Appeal amount: $1,871,208
Funding Received/Pledged:  $581,000
In-Kind Support Received: $122,000

Note: This is an update to our June 10 appeal.


Political unrest continues today as Burundians went to the polls in an already contentious election. Despite constitutional limits and continued opposition, Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza is seeking a third consecutive five-year term.

Since April 2015, Burundians have been fleeing their country following earlier election violence and a failed coup attempt that has led to the deterioration of safety and security for many.  The political conflict has led to significant displacement to surrounding countries, with the largest influx of refugees arriving in Tanzania.  In the past five weeks alone, the number of Burundian refugees in Tanzania has increased by 53 percent.

Over 80,000 Burundian refugees have fled to Tanzania since the pre-election violence began. The Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, already home to 60,000 Congolese refugees, is now extremely congested with more than 127,000 people due to the influx of refugees from Burundi.  Tanzania’s government and UNHCR are looking to establish a new refugee camp to handle the influx, but have not yet found a suitable site.  UNHCR estimates that the number of Burundian refugees could increase to 250,000 – or even 500,000 – by the middle of August.

CWS Response

CWS tanks get filled with water as part of emergency response in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp. Photo: Gilles Amadou Ouédraogo / LWF

CWS tanks get filled with water as part of emergency response in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp. Photo: Gilles Amadou Ouédraogo / LWF

CWS initially participated as part of an ACT Alliance assessment team, providing the services of a water, sanitation and hygiene engineer, an emergency response manager and coordinating assistance through the CWS Africa Regional Representative.  CWS and other ACT Alliance Tanzania Forum members, including local partner, Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service, have been meeting regularly with UNHCR and Government of Tanzania officials.

CWS is also supporting the ACT Alliance effort to provide short-term emergency water assistance, while planning for more permanent solutions in consultation with responding agencies.  In response to the shortage of basic bathing and cleaning infrastructure, we have constructed 114 latrines and 66 bathing facilities.

In order to address the issue of water supply, CWS has also supported the purchase of eight water storage tanks, each containing 5 cubic meters of water.  As of mid-July, six of these tanks have been installed in cooperation with UNHCR, allowing 2,000 people to receive the Sphere standard of 15 liters per day. These tanks are supplying more than 10,000 gallons of clean water to people in the refugee camp each day.  CWS has also ordered 10,000 jerry cans which will be distributed to camp residents as soon as received.

Additional resources and funding are necessary to address other areas of need, including family shelters, protection screening mechanisms and safe space development, psychosocial services and trauma counseling

Budget (in U.S. dollars)

TOTAL:  $1,871,208

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (designate 642-R, Tanzania Burundian Refugee Crisis). Donations to our emergency response efforts around the globe may also be made online.

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.