Monday, November 21, 2016 — Dear media colleague,

A critical situation is unfolding for hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking safety in Tanzania, as camps are now at full capacity.

The rate of Burundian refugee arrivals has increased almost five-fold in the last four months as people continue to flee across the border. Nearly a quarter of a million Burundian and Congolese refugees are now crammed into three overstretched camps while discussions on a fourth camp to host those still crossing the border continue to stall.

With total refugee numbers in the three camps predicted to hit more than 280,000 by the end of 2016, this is rapidly becoming one of Africa’s biggest refugee crises. However, despite warnings by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in May this year, little has been done to scale up assistance.

MSF is now calling for an urgent and rapid increase in aid to avert the health risks facing refugees –the rainy season approaches and there could be a spike in malaria.    

 “The current humanitarian response - especially in terms of shelter, water and hygiene – will be unable to keep up with the huge numbers of people arriving,” says David Nash, Head of Mission for MSF. “With the unrest in Burundi showing no signs of abating, it is crucial that international assistance to the humanitarian effort in Tanzania is rapidly stepped up.”

Today, we share with you an update focusing on how the refugee situation is on the rise, and could reach a crisis point.


  • A selection of HIGH RES photographs
  • VIDEO INTERVIEW of psychologist Chip Hunter, who set up the mental health projects in Nyarugusu and Nduta camps https://youtu.be/_KXRxXdyshE
  • B-ROLL is available on request


Angela Makamure & Seipati Moloi


Doctors Without Borders/MSF is an independent international medical humanitarian organisation working to bring emergency medical care to people caught in conflict, crises and disasters in more than 65 countries around the world including South Africa. We rely on the regular generous donations from individual donors to support our work.

To support MSF’s work:

  • SMS “JOIN” to 41486 to donate R15 per month
A member of the “mosquito team” (vector control team) installs a mosquito trap inside a shelter. This will help identify the type of mosquitoes that are transmitting malaria in the camp. Photographer: Louise Annaud/MSF
More than 300 people arrive each day in Nduta camp, originally designed for 50,000 people but now hosting over 65,000. Photographer: Louise Annaud/MSF
Sally Parker, MSF midwife, receives yet another pregnant woman at the MSF maternity. “Burundians are very stoic by nature. You will hardly ever hear them scream when they give birth, even though there is no epidural available here. Those who deliver for the first time might moan, but the tradition here is to stay silent.”    Photographer: Louise Annaud/MSF
The World Food Programme (WFP) is in charge of food distribution. Maize flour and green peas are distributed to refugees in order to reach the recommended nutritional intake of 2100 calories per person per day. Photographer: Louise Annaud/MSF
Angela Makamure Press Officer at Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Southern Africa
Seipati Moloi Media Liaison Co-ordinator at Doctors Without Borders (MSF)