In Nduta, the current population is tens of thousands of people – all refugees coming from Burundi – where they’re fleeing crisis in the country. Many first arrived to Nyarugusu Camp – which is a few hours south of here – and have then been transferred. There are a lot of new arrivals coming directly through entry points from Burundi. Many have lost family members. No one’s sure what is going to happen next in Burundi. But one sure thing is that there are also a lot of difficulties for people living in Nduta. So we try and do the best we can to provide adequate health care and mental health care.
When people first arrived to Nduta – after registration or sometimes even before registration – they go into mass shelters. And in mass shelters you can have many families at a time. Sometimes people are arriving with nothing, with no blankets, without any cooking utensils, or anything like that. So when they arrive and they’re in very cramped and crowded conditions, essentially it’s a hotspot for potential epidemic diseases such as cholera or measles. We see very high rates of malaria, particularly in these mass shelters. This is one of the most precarious places in the camp, and people have already journeyed a long way just to get here. There are clearly improvements that can be made for new arrivals to the camp in order to reduce their vulnerability.
For people who are living in the other camp zones, sometimes they still have to walk a fair distance even to get access to water. Some people don’t have sufficient capacity to store water in their house, and are doing up to seven trips a day to collect fresh water, walking more than a kilometre each time. So this essentially can be an all-day activity. The shelters are crowded and they’re built out of very temporary materials. (January 2016)