Over the past three and a half months, there has been a sudden surge in the number of asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arriving in Tanzania, from Masisi and Rutshuru territories in North Kivu.
Currently, asylum seekers are traveling from these territories and resting at Goma before proceeding to Tanzania via Bukavu and Uvira. Pastors, priests, fishermen, and good Samaritans are supporting asylum seekers at night with means of transport- boats to Kigoma from Uvira, Makobola, and Baraka. Upon reaching Lake Tanganyika shores in Tanzania during the night to morning hours, some transporters organized by pastors are taking them to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) Kigoma Office and mostly recently to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) office and Immigration posts in Kasulu and Kigoma.
As of 19th June 2023, 11,764 Congolese asylum seekers arrived in Tanzania via Kigoma and Kasulu borders, out of which 11,531 have been registered by UNHCR as refugees and relocated to Nyarugusu refugee camp. The government’s stand has been for the refugee emergency response in Kigoma to be a transit location and temporary and to settle refugees in Nyarugusu camp.
ACT (Action by Churches Together) Tanzania Forum members are alert and closely following the situation in DRC as it may continue to be more complex as the country anticipates holding its general election in December 2023.
Tanzania has an encampment policy and refugees in the camps are restricted from engaging in income-generating activities and no market is allowed to operate within the camps.
The Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service, a member of ACT Tanzania Forum is planning to respond to the DRC Refugee Influx through Rapid Response Funds supporting WASH, Non-Food Items, and Psychosocial support.