DRC refugees in Zambia relocate to permanent site

Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) – The Zambian Government, with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and partners, has started the relocation of Democratic Republic of Congo refugees to a permanent site.

They are being moved from the congested Kenani Transit Centre in Nchelenge District, northern Zambia, to a newly opened permanent site, Mantapala Refugee Settlement, 40 kilometres from the Transit Centre within the same district.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, the first convoy of buses to the newly designated refugee settlement started on Saturday and carried 150 Congolese refugees. Several relocation convoys will follow in the coming days, depending on weather conditions and on-going preparations on the ground in Mantapala in terms of health, shelter, water supply and other facilities, UNHCR said.

Over the last five months, refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been crossing into Zambia through various entry points in the north, fleeing from conflict in Haute Katanga’s Pweto area and Moba, in Tanganyika Province.

The majority of the refugees arriving through Chiengi border area, are hosted at Kenani, while those who cross through other entry points in Mpulungu, Nsumbu and Kaputa, are taken to two of the older settlements - Meheba and Mayukwayukwa – in the northwest and west of the country, respectively.

Kenani, which has reached its maximum holding capacity, is currently hosting over 14, 000 Congolese refugees, with an average of 100 new arrivals registered on a daily basis at Kenani Transit Centre, the UNHCR said in a statement issued here.

Mantapala Refugee Settlement has the capacity to host a population of up to 20,000 refugees and members of the host community.

UNHCR, working with the Government, sister UN agencies and other partners, is putting up facilities and will provide humanitarian assistance, using a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) model, which provides for the settlement of refugees alongside the host community to ensure that they share the facilities provided by humanitarian actors, development partners and the Government in the Refugee Settlement and the host areas.  

It is anticipated that more arrivals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are expected in 2018 as a result of continued conflict in that country. Zambia currently hosts an estimated total of 37,812 Congolese refugees in the settlements and in urban areas.
-0- PANA MM 22Jan2018

22 january 2018 09:39:39

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