Minors feel worst pinch of Burundi unrest

Fromchildren ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – CHILDREN are bearing the brunt of the worsening political crisis in Burundi.
While the sociopolitical situation remaining tense and unpredictable, cross-border influxes are expected to continue, with the Burundian refugee population in the region projected to exceed 520 000 by the end of 2017.
An estimated 325 000 people from Burundi have fled to neighbouring countries, particularly the equally-troubled Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, following election-related violence that began in April 2015.
Sixty percent of the Burundian refugee population in Tanzania is under age 18 and 20 percent are under the age of five.
Rwanda is hosting an estimated 81 515 Burundian refugees, of which 47 percent are children under 18.
According to the United Nations Childre’s Fund, in addition there are 2 000 unaccompanied or separated children.
Although governments and partners’ assistance continues, transit facilities and camps are overcrowded.
“Children are bearing the brunt of the crisis, with overstretched health and nutrition facilities and water and sanitation shortages increasing the risk of disease outbreaks,” said a Unicef spokesperson in Tanzania.
Protection concerns such as sexual and gender-based violence are significant while inadequate numbers of schools and limited education supplies are making it difficult for children to access quality education.

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