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DRC: transport plans finalised for registered Angolans

Briefing notes

DRC: transport plans finalised for registered Angolans

14 August 2001

Angolan refugees continued to arrive in the Bas Congo Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the weekend as UNHCR began registering more than 6,000 refugees who fled to DRC border areas last week following a UNITA offensive on the northern Angolan town of Beu and surrounding villages on August 3. By yesterday (Monday), UNHCR had registered nearly 6,118 refugees and was finalising plans to transfer the refugees to villages further away from the border. An estimated 1,500 refugees also remain scattered across several border villages.

Over the weekend, UNHCR staff visited three villages that have been proposed by local authorities for the settlement of the refugees. The villages, some 50 km from the DRC border, can accommodate a total of 6,000 people. This morning, UNHCR will deploy teams of workers to the proposed villages to begin parcelling land for the settlement of the refugees. Each refugee family is expected to receive 0.5 hectares of land.

Because of extremely poor road conditions from the border areas, refugees will be expected to walk to the settlement areas later this week when UNHCR hopes to complete the distribution of basic supplies sent from the DRC capital, Kinshasa, last week. Arrangements are also being made to set up temporary support stations along the 50 km stretch from the border to provide basic en route assistance to the refugees. Mobile medical units will also patrol the route.

By yesterday, medical supplies enough to cover the needs of 10,000 people for three months had been received and are being distributed to health clinics in the area. UNHCR and health partners also plan to send additional medical staff to the clinics to cope with the increase in numbers in the area. An initial assessment shows that 5% of children under five suffer severe malnutrition.

Before the recent influx from Angola, the DRC was hosting over 180,000 Angolan refugees. UNHCR was assisting over 70,000 of them in the Bas-Congo and Katanga Provinces.