United Nations Cholera in Burundi refugee camp worsening, over 31 dead

Reports say at least 3,000 cases of cholera have been reported since last week.

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play (Al Jazeera)
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No fewer than 31 people have been killed in a cholera outbreak that has hit a Burundi refugee camp in the remote Tanzanian fishing village of Kagunga, with the United Nations describing the situation as "worsening".

Reports say at least 3,000 cases of cholera have been reported since last week.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the cholera outbreak had become "a new, worrying, and growing additional complication" for the tens of thousands of refugees seeking refuge in Tanzania.

Following a month of political arrest in Burundi following President Pierre Nkurunziza's 3rd term bid, there has been an influx of Burundian refugees into Tanzania.

While there is no confirmation of the source of the epidemic, there is some speculation that refugees carried it across the border, with cases of cholera already being reported in the southern Burundian town of Makamba.

With the overcrowding and widespread unsanitary conditions in Kagunga, the UNHCR said it was likely the current epidemic was sourced by the lake itself and it is expected that the condition will worsen over the next few days.

According to Al Jazeera, there were moves by the Tanzanian government to build more latrines, in an urgent bid to curb new infections, as there were currently just 94 latrines servicing the entire refugee population, with 24 already full.

Meanwhile, the UNHCR which anticipates that the number of refugees could double in the next 6 months owing to the continued unrest in Burundi has launched an appeal that aims to protect and assist up to 200,000 refugees in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC.

Speaking on the outbreak, Christopher Kamugusha, programme officer for World Health Organisation (WHO) in Tanzania said "we have enough drugs and we are putting our resources into this and ensuring this does not spread".

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