Increased Angolan arrivals in Zambia
The number of Angolans fleeing the civil war to neighbouring Zambia has increased significantly over the past three weeks. More than 1,500 refugees from Angola's Moxico province have crossed into western and north-western Zambia since 8 October. This is up from around 100 arrivals a month during the past year.
UNHCR sent trucks with emergency food supplies and tents to three entry points - Chavuma, Zambezi and Kalabo - and has so far transferred 1,050 of the new arrivals to existing refugee settlements. Zambia staff are also evaluating the need for a transit centre in North Western province, where the majority of new refugees are crossing.
The refugees say battles in Moxico between the Angolan army and UNITA rebels have intensified. Many refugees are weak, having walked for days. Smaller groups of dozens of Angolans have also arrived in Kisenge, southern Democratic Republic of Congo, in the past two weeks. They have told UNHCR of being taken from their homes and used as human shields by retreating UNITA rebels fearful of government air strikes. They say they escaped and made their way to the border under cover of darkness.
Zambia has hosted Angolan refugees for decades. Sites at Meheba and Mayukwayukwa currently shelter around 32,000 Angolans while another 120,000 are settled in the border areas.