Africa

Cholera outbreak hits 3,000 Burundi refugees - UN

A Burundian refugee child sleeps as she receives treatment at a makeshift clinic at the Lake Tanganyika stadium in Kigoma western Tanzania, May 19, 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Tanzania alone hosts more than 64,000 Burundians

Cholera has infected about 3,000 people in Tanzania, the UN has said, where many Burundians have fled seeking refuge from their country's unrest.

Up to 400 new cases are being seen each day, the UN's refugee agency said.

Over 100,000 have left Burundi in recent weeks, escaping violence sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term.

In the latest unrest, at least two people were killed in a grenade attack in the capital Bujumbura.

"Those who did this had the intention to kill, because the grenades were thrown among women selling fruits, in a big crowd," General Godefroid Bizimana, a deputy police chief, told the AFP news agency.

There were fresh protests in Bujumbura on Friday against Mr Nkurunziza's bid to extend his rule, a move critics say is unconstitutional.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The UN is hoping to evacuate refugees away from the Kagunga area
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Meanwhile protests against Burundi's president are continuing

A UN spokesman called the cholera outbreak a "new, worrying, and growing additional complication".

The epidemic has killed 31 people - two locals and 29 Burundian refugees, the UN's statement said.

Cholera is a highly contagious disease, causing severe diarrhoea and vomiting, and is caught from contaminated water.

The UN described the cramped, dirty conditions in Tanzania's lakeside Kagunga area, where many of the migrants are staying, as "dire".

It is trying to evacuate refugees from the region but warns the situation may get worse before it gets better.

The refugee agency predicts that the number of people fleeing Burundi could double in the next six months.

Burundi: Key facts

The country is facing its worst turmoil since the 12-year civil war ended in 2005

  • 10.4m population

  • 50 years - life expectancy for a man

  • 2nd poorest country in the world

  • 85% are Hutu, 14% Tutsi

  • 300,000 died in civil war

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