Since April 2015, over 100,000 Burundians have fled to Tanzania as a result of political instability. As the lead transportation agency, IOM has transported over 100,000 refugees by land and water to refugee camps, in accordance with the Government of Tanzania’s encampment policy. Staff are deployed on buses and boats at entry collection points to ensure that safety procedures were observed and priority was given to vulnerable refugees such as pregnant women, elderly, unaccompanied children and people with specific needs. IOM’s activities under this project are funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) and by the Government of Norway through the OneFund

Once overcrowding at Nyarugusu Refugee Camp reached a critical level, with a population of over 150,000 residing in a camp intended for a population of 50,000, the international community worked with the Government to relocate refugees to two new sites, Nduta and Mtendeli (which is expected to be ready to accommodate refugees in 2016). Relocation to Nduta began on 5 October 2015.

IOM intends to continue to facilitate the timely and dignified transportation of Burundian refugees. During transportation, IOM ensures that persons with special needs and vulnerabilities are prioritized and receive medical attention when needed. Fit to travel health checks are also conducted and treatment/stabilization administered as needed prior to the movement of passengers, and refugees receive information on special hygiene measures and cholera prevention during their travel to the camp. Those requiring further medical assistance are assisted with medical escort and referral upon arrival at destination.

This project is carried out in conjunction with the Government of Tanzania and UN organisations (under the overall coordination of UNHCR) as part of the Burundi Refugee Regional Response Plan. 

Read a review of IOM Tanzania's work with Burundian refugees in Western Tanzania from April 2015 to April 2016 here


Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania

The project started in April 2014, it is funded by Japan and aims at decreasing the number of stranded and destitute migrants in the region, increasing capacity of the government to document and manage return migration, thus promoting a more peaceful and stable environment in the affected communities.

The project’s main components are:

  1. Direct assistance to the most vulnerable stranded migrants in Tanzania to return to their country of origin through AVR
  2. Capacity Building of immigration officials and border police to improve their skills in migration and return management
  3. Promotion of regional dialogue through a cross-border workshop on migration management, as follow-up of the 2010 Regional IOM-UNHCR Conference on Refugees Protection and International Migration

For further info on the project:

JAPAN project factsheet 2014

JAPAN report June 2014