Nduta Camp (Tanzania)

Children play in front of latrines. (M. Pracht/MSF)

Fires burn out after mealtime. (M. Pracht/MSF)

Vendors cut up a goat in the market in Nduta camp. (M. Pracht/MSF)

New arrivals lived for a while in overcrowded communal tents . (L. Annaud/MSF)
Residents of the camp pump water from a well. (L. Annaud/MSF)

Children playing in Nduta camp. (L. Annaud/MSF)

 Dried fish in the camp market. (L. Annaud/MSF)

Installation of a mosquito trap inside a shelter  (L. Annaud/MSF)

One of the main roads in Nduta camp. (L. Annaud/MSF)

Health point in Nduta camp. (E. Castaignet/MSF)

Despite its scale and huge population, Nduta camp is not widely known.  Situated in Tanzania`s north-western Kigoma region, close to the border with Burundi, it is now the size of a small town. Though the number of new arrivals has decreased since April 2017, prior to that month there has been a huge influx in Burundian refugees seeking safety in the camp, which has become severely overcrowded.

The camp was first established in December 1996 in response to the crisis taking place at the time in Burundi. People fleeing the civil war, which took place between 1993 and 2005, constituted the majority of the population, though some refugees had been in Tanzania since fleeing earlier ethnic conflict in the 1970s. As the war in Burundi ended and stability improved, many refugees returned home and the camp was finally closed in 2008.

However,  new unrest in Burundi during 2015 caused a sudden influx of refugees into Tanzania. Nearby Nyarugusu camp initially received these refugees but became overwhelmed. Nduta was reopened in October 2015. A third camp, Mtendeli, was opened in January 2016, but reached its full capacity of 50,000 in early October 2016. Now, all new arrivals from Burundi are hosted in Nduta camp, which had to be expanded. By the end of September 2017, Nduta hosted more than 125,000 people — more than double the number of people originally anticipated.

The facilities – including the provision of shelter, medical care, education, water and food – were planned to cater for 55,000 people. These services are now being stretched and as such, conditions are rapidly deteriorating.

Unsanitary and overcrowded conditions cause a host of health problems including diarrhoea, respiratory tract infections, and skin conditions. Malaria is one of the biggest health challenges in the camp, particularly during the  rainy season, where stagnant water provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Between January and June 2017, MSF treated 91,115 patients for the disease.

MSF began responding to the Burundian refugee crisis in Tanzania in May 2015 when violence flared and the first influx of people arrived. MSF is the main medical provider in Nduta camp, running a 175-bed hospital delivering comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care. Teams are also running six health posts, providing medical screening for newly arrived refugees and delivering much-needed mental healthcare. MSF treats between 34,000 to 40,000 patients at the health posts each month.


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Nduta Refugee Camp (Tanzania) -3.694976, 30.782427

GPS coordinates: 3.6950° S, 30.7824° E

Where refugees come from: Refugees in Nduta herald from all over Burundi, although the biggest numbers come from the south of the country, close to the border with Tanzania. Many also come from northern Burundi.

Other nearest camps: Nyarugusu camp is approximately 80km away. Mtendeli camp is 40 km away.

What do people say about Nduta camp

Volunteer Nursing Team Supervisor, age 29

I`ve been living in Nduta for over a year now. Life`s very hard but in some ways I`m used to it – I actually grew up here, having originally fled my country when I was nine along with my parents, brother and three sisters. I lived here for eight years and then went back home. I had a family there and was completing my nursing studies, but was forced to leave again in 2015. ..read more

Brian Willett
Field Coordinator for MSF in Nduta

In Nduta, the current population is tens of thousands – 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 some things that are sure 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. ..read more

Refugee, age 22

When I arrived in Nduta I was given a tent, some food, some cooking utensils, and some water. It felt odd to be given these items - although I`m grateful, it makes me think of home and all the possessions that I have left behind. And despite the assistance we receive, surviving in the camp is difficult: we don`t have enough food and we`re always hungry. ..read more

George Hunter
MSF psychologist

There are people who, maybe 6 months ago, were living at home in a city – their kids were going to school, they were getting up in the morning and going to work. Now they live in a tent – most of them have nothing. They’ve been forced to flee. In many cases they’ve lost family members, lost friends. So everyone here is really traumatized to some extent. It’s just a matter of how it shows up – whether you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, you have stomach pains – but everybody has some effect from this. ..read more

Burundi refugee, age 18

Us mothers want the best for our children, but at the camp, it's so hard to feed them properly. We don't have enough food – it's so hard to feed a whole family on the amount we receive and although we try to ration it we always run out so quickly. There's never enough to make proper meals for everyone. The foodstuffs are also very basic and poor quality so it's impossible ..read more

Refugee, age 23, living in Nduta with her husband and children

I`m so happy about the birth of my son but I`m also concerned about his future. He was born after foetal distress. He can`t breathe properly, he hasn't been moving, and he still hasn't cried or made any of the noises that babies normally make. He's also unable to feed naturally so he's eating via a tube. He is only five days old but he has already seen so much suffering. I know that he has a life of hardship ahead of him – what hope is there for a child born in a refugee camp? ..read more

Dr. Michael Arnegger
MSF medical doctor at the paediatric, malnutrition and neonatology ward

We are seeing a lot of malaria, we are seeing a lot of respiratory tract infections. And in the last weeks, more and more malnutrition cases. Besides that, we have the maternity and we are seeing a lot of newborns with infections, newborns with low birth weight. ..read more


Facilities in Nduta Camp

Food & Drink




Sanitary Facilities


Social Activities

Reasons why people choose Nduta Camp

   Lack of options

Number of people living in this camp (as of September 2017): 125,546

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