Refugees from DRC cause 'humanitarian crisis' in Zambia


Over 60,000 refugees, 27,400 of which are from DRC have become a burden to Zambia causing a humanitarian crisis, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said in a statement on Tuesday.

It said that as result, Zambia was facing a growing humanitarian crisis, with thousands in urgent need of protection and life-saving assistance including food, water, health care, shelter and sanitation.

"At the end of August, approximately 500 people entered the country on a daily basis, fleeing what they called "certain death". Arrivals report killings, rape, looting and burning of houses," it added.

Pierrine Aylara, UNHCR representative in the country, said the Zambian government had remained "exemplary" in its obligations towards refugees.

"But UNHCR urgently requires continued support from the donor community and its private sector partners as soon as possible," she said, adding neither the UNHCR nor the government could it alone.

"This is why for UNHCR it is critical to have all life-saving amenities in place to receive as many refugees as the conflict in the DRC may generate," Aylara said.

According to the statement, the UNHCR is currently working with the government of Zambia, local authorities and partners on the ground to provide core relief items such as tents, plastic sheeting, mosquito nets, blankets and hygiene kits. But more help is urgently needed.

Chaos in DRC's Kasai region has led to thousands of civilians being killed and others being displaced. The instability started last year in August when Kamuina Nsapu militiamen leader was killed by police leading to his men going on a rampage, killing villagers.

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