DRC: Burundians without prospects for the future in Mulongwe camp

On his third day in the DRC, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees traveled this Saturday to Burundian refugees at the Mulongwe site in South Kivu. A site opened last November, to unclog the Lusenda camp, completely saturated, while refugees continue to arrive. Between September and February, UNHCR registered more than 500 Burundian refugees per month.

A group of men and women are waving in the eyes of visitors a thin sleeping mat torn. "Look at this mat, that's all we get and that's what we sleep on! Fatigue is on the faces. Before being hosted here, most of these refugees spent months in a transit center in inhumane conditions.

"I was even outside the transit center because there was no more room inside," says Emma, ​​a mother of six. I spent four months there. Children died in these conditions. "

In Mulongwe, Emma has at least been able to build a small mud house thanks to a UNHCR kit. Soon some families should also be allocated land to cultivate with the help of the government. But the money is lacking, to the point that last February WFP reduced its food aid.

"Before we were given rations of 15 dollars and now the amount has been reduced to 12 dollars per person, testifies another woman met in the camp. It's impossible to get away with it. We can not make ends meet. "

The inhabitants share with these refugees, school and health center even if this territory is far from being spared. At the end of the year, clashes between militias erupted a few kilometers away. "The situation has calmed down. But here many would like Monusco to be more present to protect them. "

Burundian referendum worries

So what about the return to the country for those Burundians who see their living conditions, already precarious, deteriorate? The idea is not the order of the day, especially as the prospect of the constitutional referendum next May, which could allow President Nkurunziza to remain in power until 2034, is not to reassure.

Jeannette fled Burundi last September. That day, she said, hundreds of them decided to leave their home province of Cibitoke. "We fled the kidnappings. In Burundi, today you can be with your husband at night, and people come to take you to the river or the lake. That's what drove us to flee. "

With the upcoming referendum, which could once again allow President Nkurunziza to remain in power, the fear among refugees is that the crisis will get bogged down for many years. "The referendum is only a staging, says a man from the camp. It only shows that the president wants to continue to grab power. He does not want to leave. In appearance you can believe that Burundi is at peace but in reality it is a cold war, we can come to take you anytime. "

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