UNHCR assesses influx of DRC refugees in northern Zambia
Publisher: Xinhua News Agency
Story date: 05/12/2012
Language: English

LUSAKA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) – The UN refugee agency has dispatched officials to northern Zambia's Nchelenge district to investigate the continued cause of an influx of Democratic Republic of Congo refugees, a senior official said Wednesday.

DRC refugees fleeing renewed fighting between the DRC government soldiers and the M23 rebels have been entering Nchelenge district of Zambia and according to Zambian government figures, there are over 580 refugees who have entered the country.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Zambia Joyce Mends-Cole said the officials have been dispatched to establish of the Congolese nationals have entered Zambia for safety reasons or whether they will be in Zambia for a short period of time.

"If that is the case, the UNHCR will have no option but to re- open the Kala Refugee Camp, which was closed in 2010 and settle them from there," she said when she met Zambia's Minister of Foreign Affairs at his office.

The UNHCR, she said, has also activated its emergency response mechanism to assist the refugees while preparations are currently underway to move the refugees to a refugee camp.

Meanwhile the Zambian government has expressed concern with the conflict in eastern DRC and is hoping to work with the UNHCR to help provide food, shelter and other logistics to the refugees.
 

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