- A chartered flight of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has transported the first badge of 43 Burundian refuges to the western Tanzanian town of Kibondo for the Kenyan capital Nairobi where they will spend three days before they finally resettle to the United States of America.
IOM officials said 43 refugees have been accepted for resettlement by the US authorities.
They form part of a larger group of Burundian refugees who fled ethnic strife in Burundi three decades ago. About 8,500 Burundian refugees are likely to be resettled to the US over the next two years.
Their resettlement followed a referral by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the basis that “repatriation and sustainable reintegration to Burundi was not a viable option.”
The refugees and their descendants were subsequently interviewed for resettlement by US immigration officers in the Tanzanian camps of Kasulu, Kibondo and Ngara, IOM officials said.
While in Tanzania, IOM was conducting extensive medical health assessment, providing cultural orientation classes to help the refugees settle in the U.S, and coordinating the transfer of the refugees from the recently constructed IOM Processing Centre in Kanembwa to Kibondo airport.
The refugees will under-go a final pre-departure health check and briefings before they left Kenya, which will complement the five-day cultural orientation classes received in the camps.
“In addition, IOM will accompany refugees on all commercial flights to the U.S, provide medical escorts when necessary and will assist them during their transit in Europe,” IOM officials assured, noting, “the refugees will be resettled across much of the U.S. by agencies that are preparing for the first arrivals next week.”
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