New York- UN (PANA) -- The UN refugee agency has appealed for US$62 million to help thousands of people displaced within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and Congolese refugees in neighbouring countries, according to a statement availed to PANA Tuesday.
"UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees) is seeking 47 million dollars to support the return and reintegration this year of 98,500 Congolese refugees to their homeland," the agency said.
It also asked international donors for a further US$15 million to provide protection and assistance during the same period for an estimated 1.
1 million Internally Displaced People (IDP) in the DR Congo.
The UN agency hoped for "a prompt and adequate support to its appeals", in order to bring succour to the people.
It cited important developments in the DR Congo last year that also raised hope for the people, which it said include the inauguration of President Joseph Kabila in December after the country's first democratic elections in four decades.
"So, we have to seize the chance and build on the positive developments, stability and number of returns achieved last year and the international community has a unique opportunity here," the agency's High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, stated.
It also said that the US$47 million, in addition to its regular budget will cover voluntary repatriation, programmes for Congolese refugees from neighbouring countries of Tanzania, Republic of Congo and Zambia.
More than 400,000 Congolese still live in exile, with most of them in nine neighbouring countries, living in camps or designated areas and most of them have no resources to return on their own.