Isingiro: 8 Dead, More Refugees Suffering

8 people, including children, have so far died in Isingiro district near the Uganda-Tanzania border following mass expulsion of Ugandans and Rwandese from Tanzania. A report by Tadeo Sentamu tells News Hapa that the children among the dead had been displaced without their parents and succumbed to hunger. Byarugaba Alex Bakunda, Member of Parliament for Isingiro County South, confirms the report, saying that the large number of refugees pouring into the district has overwhelmed health workers. “The sanitation situation here is critical, and a number of the people are suffering from serious health issues,” he says. Kitagata Health Centre III, which is the main health unit in the area, is reportedly experiencing acute shortage of medication due to the many cases they are receiving of late.

In explaining the situation, Hon. Bakunda says that about three quarters of the refugees are Ugandans who have been living in Tanzania, while some are Rwandese nationals. Also among the refugees are Tanzanian citizens. “Some of these people have been living in Tanzania since colonial times, while others married Tanzanians. None of them was spared by the eviction order,” he says.

At the end of July, Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete announced that all illegal immigrants were to leave Tanzanian soil within two weeks, with the deadline set at August 10th. The order saw droves of foreigners from East African nations leaving the country, with many of them having nowhere to go.

Hon. Bakunda says that the government has been able to send some emergency relief food like posho and other items to ease the condition of the refugees while arrangements are made to relocate them to Sango Bay, Rakai district.

- Oct. 7, 2013
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