A Life Displaced is Still a Life with Hope and Dreams

縱是流離失所  仍要活在希望中 (英文原文後有中文摘譯) 

Oxfam is providing 47,000+ ‪#‎refugees‬ with clean drinking water in the Nduta camp, Tanzania.

By Melanie Gallant, Oxfam Canada’s Media Relations Officer

Whether through civil war or other forms of conflict, natural disasters or climate related disasters such as drought, the global scale of displaced people is unprecedented. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates there are now over 60 million forcibly displaced people around the world including 19.5 million refugees – the highest number on record!

Last year I travelled to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, where I saw firsthand how Syrian families living as refugees in cold and muddy tents were struggling to cope under difficult winter conditions. I remember one Syrian mom, Nahla*, tell me “We can’t sleep most nights because water leaks in (our tent) and makes everything wet. I am very worried for my children. I think of going back to Syria every day.” Millions of displaced people share that same dream – they are living in makeshift dwellings, in urgent need of safe drinking water, sanitation services, food, shelter, medicine, education and security, wanting desperately to return home. Many are from Syria, like Nahla*, but countless others are from dozens of crisis affected countries across the world.

Burundi is one of those countries, but one that seldom makes the headlines.

Already one of the poorest places on the planet, more than a decade of wars has left Burundi in an extremely difficult situation. Fear of violence and intimidation is forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. Over 250,000 people have fled, the majority to Tanzania, overstretching the capacity of the local government and aid agencies to respond.

The numbers are so shockingly high and hard to imagine, we can forget that each and every person forced to flee their home has a face, a story, a family, and dreams for the future.

Like many Burundian refugee women, Godeberite* now lives in a makeshift shelter in a crowded Tanzanian refugee camp, trying to nurture a young family in extremely difficult conditions. Having run out of options and forced to flee her home in Burundi, she arrived in the Nduta refugee camp in March. She was heavily pregnant with her first child Victor*, who is now 1 month old. Before an Oxfam water station was added, she used to have to walk for over an hour to fetch water.

Women and children account for more than 75% of displaced persons globally, and are particularly affected by crises and during displacement. For example, in addition to facing an increased risk of violence and sexual violence, women often become the primary caretakers for children, the injured, the sick and the elderly, which substantially increases their workload and emotional burden. Godeberite spoke to Oxfam, giving us a glimpse of how challenging life was for her in Nduta.

“There are more sicknesses here than back home in Burundi because of the large population living together. They did give pregnant women milk but as everything was open people would come and steal it from me. Right now I have access to clean water and that’s why I am healthy. If I did not have this it would have been very easy to get infections.”

Oxfam’s work in the Nduta camp includes the provision of water and sanitation facilities, emergency food, and most recently, livelihoods programs. These include income generation activities developed to make use of people’s existing skills and knowledge, like bee keeping and farming, but also paid work projects to improve the camp infrastructure and protect the environment, like drainage facilities, better roads, and planting trees. In fact, we are even working towards implementing solar pumping stations for water and installing semi-permanent latrines for families.

縱是流離失所  仍要活在希望中 

去年,我到了黎巴嫩貝卡谷地 (Bekaa Valley),親眼看見敘利亞難民家庭住在既寒冷且沾滿泥濘的帳篷內,艱苦地應付寒冬來臨。我記得其中一位名叫Nahla的難民提到:「帳篷漏水不但弄濕所有東西,更令我們差不多每晚都難以入睡。我很擔心我的子女,每天都想像著回去敘利亞。」



除了敘利亞外,世界很多地方難民情況同樣嚴峻,卻往往受到忽略,非洲內陸國家布隆迪 (Burundi)便是其中之一。Godeberite是一名來自布隆迪的難民。為逃避暴力衝突,她於今年三月逃向鄰國坦桑尼亞,現時住在位於Nduta的難民營。



[1] 據聯合國難民署2016年6月發布的難民數字,全球有超過6,500萬人正處於流離失所的狀態,當中包括已獲難民身份的2,130萬人。


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