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Life in Tanzania Refugee Camps

Refugee camps are realities hard to describe, especially to people who have never been to one. I just spent nearly a month in two of them—the Nyarugusu and Mtendeli refugee camps in Western Tanzania—yet often find myself struggling for words when friends ask me what it’s like. I was there for exactly that purpose, however. To tell the story of these camps, massive and overwhelming, and of those refugees who find themselves living in them, and how the Red Cross is helping life become just a little bit more bearable.

In May 2015, after violence pushed thousands of fleeing Burundians into neighboring Tanzania, already scarce resources were pushed even further to the limit. Camps built with a capacity for 50,000 now hold over 150,000. The Red Cross runs health services in the camp, and provides vital services that can often mean the difference between life and death. This video is just a glimpse into that life, and how Red Cross is helping with the enormous need of thousands of refugees.

My Experience in Tanzania Refugee Camps

How We’re Helping Refugees

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an Emergency Appeal of to support the Tanzania Red Cross Society as it responds to this unfolding crisis. The Appeal aims to assist 250,000 refugees in the Nyarugusu and Mtendeli camps through the provision of basic health care, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, shelter, disaster preparedness and risk reduction and capacity building. The American Red Cross has contributed $200,000 and a disaster response specialist to help support the IFRC’s ongoing work around population movement in Tanzania.

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