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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Refugee Local Integration Program

Old Settlements: The Government of Tanzania is currently holding consultations on the way forward with regards to the planned relocation and local integration of 162,156 former Burundian Refugees from 1972 who have been naturalized.
The Relocating Citizens are sought to move from three old settlements in western Tanzania to 16 selected receiving regions where they are to receive their citizenship certificates. During a registration for relocation every naturalized household already chose its priority regions.
Now they are awaiting the notification of their final allocation. UNHCR is ready to provide local integration support at district level for the naturalized population and seeks to engage development actors.
Villages: 22,337 Burundian refugees from 1972 spontaneously settled in villages in Kigoma region have been registered and verified in 2010 for durable solutions. The process to facilitate their application for naturalization is still to be worked out. 141 voluntary repatriated to Burundi since the beginning of 2011.

Chogo Settlement: Since 2005, 1,423 Somali Bantus in Chogo Settlement, Tanga region, were also granted citizenship and were allowed to settle permanently in Tanzania. The further 1,515 Somali Bantu refugees are being processed for the same durable solution.
Budget 2011 (in million USD)
By population
Funds available
Refugees in the Camps and Mixed Migratory Flows
Local Integration for Newly Naturalized Tanzanians

Activities in the camps
Some 100,000 refugees are consolidated in 2 camps (compared to 11 in 2007) in Kigoma. UNHCR and partners provide them with protection and rights-based assistance such as shelter, food, health, education, water and sanitation.
• Voluntary Repatriation: 364,000 Burundi and 66,000 Congolese camp refugees were assisted to return home since 2002 and 2005 respectively.
So far in 2011, a total of 9 Burundi and 91 Congolese camp refugees repatriated.
• Resettlement: 2,666 refugees have been resettled in 2010 and 94 so far from the beginning of 2011.
• Asylum Seekers: A total of 1,547 individuals. Some are pending appearance before the eligibility committee while others are awaiting the final Refugee Status Determination appeal decisions.
Sourced from UNHCR Tanzania

Population of Concern

1 July ‘11
1 Jan ‘10
1 Jan’09

Burundi refugees

DRC refugees

Other nationalities


Burundi refugees


Somali refugees



Burundi refugees


Operational Highlights July and August 2011

During his four-day visit to Tanzania from 24 to 27 August 2011, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees T. Alexander Aleinikoff met with various Government officials to discuss the state of the refugee operations in Tanzania. Of special interest during these discussions was the relocation exercise for 162,000 former Burundian refugees currently settled in Rukwa and Tabora region and the need to find durable solutions for the two remaining refugee camps in northwestern Tanzania.
  • The Geneva Refugee Convention, which remains the cornerstone of refugee protection, marked its 60th anniversary on 28 July. Tanzania ratified the Convention in 1964 and has been one of the largest refugee-hosting countries for decades.
  • From 27 to 29 July, a delegation of Ambassadors to Burundi and Tanzania of the European Union, Stefan de Loecker and Tim Clarke, visited the refugee operations with UNHCR representatives. The objective was to assess the situation of the remaining 100,000 individuals who have been living in camps in Kigoma region since 1993 and of the more than 162,000 former Burundian refugees who were granted citizenship by the Tanzanian government and are living in three settlements in Rukwa and Tabora regions since 1972.
  • The extension of Mpanda Girls Secondary School was inaugurated by the Rukwa Regional Commissioner on Saturday July 9. Funded by the Japanese Government through UNHCR, the project aims at contributing to a conducive learning environment. It is also a symbol of gratitude to Rukwa region for hosting the Newly Naturalised Tanzanians from Katumba and Mishamo Settlements for nearly 40 years.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back to school in the world's largest refugee camp

The new academic year got under way on Monday in the world's largest refugee camp complex, with some 43,000 Somali children turning up for classes at Dadaab in north-east Kenya.
Some, particularly those who have arrived in the last three months, are going to school for the first time. But enrolment rates among the estimated 156,000 children of school age are relatively low in Dadaab's camps, which have 19 primary schools and six secondary schools.
Many of those entering school were among the more than 100,000 Somali refugees who have arrived in Dadaab since June after fleeing conflict, drought and famine in their homeland, bringing the refugee population here close to 470,000.
"These children are in strong need of the routine and protection that school provides," said Linda Kjosaas, the UNHCR education officer in Dadaab.
"Circumstances here are far from ideal and we should be providing them with much more, but children are happy and, talking to their parents, it is clear that they value education highly."
At the recently opened refugee site called Ifo 2, boys played football and girls skipped in the courtyard of a brand new primary school on Monday.
"Most of these children have arrived this year from Somalia," said the headmaster, Mohammed Abdullahi Bashir. "We decided to open the school two weeks earlier to give them a chance to catch up."
So far, about 1,100 children have been enrolled at this school and 11 of the school's 24 classrooms have been filled. "Every day more children are enrolling," Bashir added.
Very few of the new arrivals received any formal education in Somalia. To help them cope, UNHCR's partner, CARE, recently began an accelerated learning programme to teach them basic literacy and numeracy skills. Some 1,500 children between the ages of five and 13 benefitted from this programme.
The schools at Dadaab follow the Kenyan education curriculum. There are also private and religious schools, adult literacy centres and four vocational training centres for refugee and local youth.
With the large influx of refugees from Somalia this year, more than half of whom are children, the demand for classrooms, desks, stationery, textbooks and teachers in Dadaab has increased dramatically – at least 75 new schools will need to be built.
Currently, there is only one teacher for every 100 pupils. In some of the schools, teachers work double shifts, teaching one group of children in the morning and another in the afternoon. Most of the teachers are refugees themselves. For teenagers, opportunities to start or continue formal education are few.
Because of overcrowding, most of the refugees arriving from Somalia this year settled outside the three existing camps with little access to basic services. In recent weeks, UNHCR has been transferring these refugees to two new sites.
To date, some 30,000 refugees have been relocated to the new sites, where UNHCR is building temporary schools for 14,000 children.
By William Spindler in Dadaab, Kenya

20,000 Sudanese flee to Ethiopia to escape fighting in Blue Nile state

Around 20,000 people have fled to western Ethiopia to escape fighting in Sudan's Blue Nile state over the past week and the number continues to rise. The refugee agency has started sending emergency aid to the area.
A UNHCR assessment team returned to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Monday after visiting the Assosa region, where the refugees have been arriving.
They said the new arrivals had been crossing into Ethiopia mainly through Kurmuk and Gizen, near Sherkole, some 770 kilometres west of Addis Ababa. Others are crossing through Bamaza, further north.
"Generally, the physical state of the refugees appears good, but they need food, water and shelter. Some, in the Gizen area, are occupying schools while others are scattered in nearby villages with local families," a UNHCR spokesman said on Tuesday.
Members of the UNHCR assessment team said those willing to be relocated were being moved to an existing refugee camp at Sherkole. However, most are reluctant to go and prefer to stay near the border, hoping that fighting will die down soon and allow them to return home.
The first movements of people into the Sherkole camp started on Saturday. The camp was first opened in 1997 in response to the north-south Sudanese civil war, which formally ended in 2005. So far, 2,500 refugees have been transferred there. Blue Nile state lies on the border with the newly independent South Sudan.
UNHCR has dispatched emergency relief items to Assosa and more supplies are on the way from Addis Ababa to assist those at Sherkole and in villages along the border. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is providing water bladders and medical supplies while World Food Programme is sending food.
Sherkole, which already accommodates some 4,000 Sudanese, can take in a further 6,000 refugees. The Ethiopian government has allocated three new sites at Tongo, Bambasi and Gure, not far from Sherkole, to accommodate the new arrivals; each with a capacity to accommodate 10,000 refugees. UNHCR has started preparing the sites.
UNHCR has sent and is sending out additional staff to the area to more effectively respond to the emergency. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres called at the weekend for an immediate halt to the hostilities in Blue Nile state.
"We need, at all costs, to stop yet one more refugee crisis in a region of the world that has been witnessing in recent months so much suffering," said Guterres.
Before the latest emergency occurred, Ethiopia had been accommodating more than 26,000 Sudanese refugees in two camps. (Sourced from UNHCR website)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

UNHCR chief visits Mogadishu, urges massive humanitarian assistance

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres urged the international community to rapidly increase aid to displaced Somalis during a landmark visit to the capital, Mogadishu.
"We are seeing here a deadly combination of conflict and drought and the misery is out of proportion to what is being done," the High Commissioner said on Wednesday during a visit to a settlement for internally displaced people (IDP) located on the grounds of the city's crumbling cathedral. They have fled drought, famine and fighting.
"The whole humanitarian community needs to scale up assistance to reach people wherever they are in Somalia," added Guterres, who was making the first visit to Mogadishu by a UNHCR chief since the 1990s.
For most of the approximately 400,000 displaced people in and around Mogadishu, aid is hard to come by and survival is a daily struggle. In the past two months, more than 100,000 Somalis, mostly livestock farmers, have fled to the capital from the drought-scorched regions of Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle.
During his visit, Guterres saw large numbers of Somalis camped in different parts of the city and in urgent need of lifesaving aid.
At the cathedral site he met families who had been waiting for days or weeks to receive assistance. Surviving on donations from the local population, they live a hand-to-mouth existence and many are in poor health.
At the Maajo settlement on the city outskirts, the High Commissioner visited during a UNHCR distribution of plastic sheeting and cooking utensils. One visibly exhausted woman said she had left her land in Lower Shabelle nine days earlier to seek aid in the capital after all her livestock had died because of the drought.
Clutching a two-year-old boy, she told Guterres that she had left her five other children behind with her mother. "I am very worried about them," she said, "I left our last bit of food behind, but I think now it is finished."
Speaking to journalists who accompanied him to Mogadishu, Guterres pointed to the "enormous difficulties of access and capacity" for humanitarian aid workers trying to help the needy amid insecurity.
"My main worry is if there is not enough assistance the humanitarian tragedy we are witnessing will get worse," he said.
The UN estimates that one in three Somalis is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and a third of all children living in south-central Somalia are malnourished.
Escorted by the African Union (AU) peacekeepers, the UNHCR delegation passed buildings destroyed by warfare or damaged by bullets, rockets or artillery shells. But there was also a lot of life on the streets and many shops doing a brisk business – encouraging signs of a city attempting to recover after years of conflict and chaos.
The security situation has improved in central Mogadishu since the withdrawal earlier this month of Al Shabaab militia forces to the outskirts.
Somali Foreign Minister Mohamed Mohamud Hajji claimed that the city was fully under the control of the Transitional Federal Government and AU peacekeepers, "but we need more support for the whole country."
In a meeting with High Commissioner Guterres, Somalia's President Sharif Ahmed expressed concern about the spread of diseases such as cholera in IDP settlements. The leader of the transitional government cited the need to "immediately feed the displaced and aid the people we can't get to.”