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Zambia: Angolans transferred away from border

Briefing notes

Zambia: Angolans transferred away from border

17 March 2000

Transfer of Angolan refugees from the border area in Sinjembela to a new camp in Nangweshi, 120 kilometres inland, continues. 6,000 refugees have already been transferred with 4,000 still remaining in the border area. UNHCR workers on the ground estimate that the operation will be completed within 4-6 weeks, despite concerns that heavy rains in the Zambezi flood plains could turn roads into mud and slow down the transfer. Some stretches of the main access road have already been occasionally flooded, causing delays even for four wheel drive trucks.

Another group of about 3,000 Angolans, who also need to be transferred inland, remains in the border area of Kalabo, waiting for the arrival of the dry season to be transferred inland by air. In January, UNHCR flew 2,000 people from Kalabo to camps in the interior of Zambia but the airbridge was suspended at the end of January, when runways were flooded.

More than 26,000 people fleeing an intensifying civil war in Angola have arrived in Zambia since last October. Some 19,000 have already been transferred to existing refugee settlements in Meheba and Mayukwayukwa, as well as the new camp in Nangweshi. UNHCR however remains on alert, following reports of renewed clashes in Angola's Moxico province, which could cause further refugee movements into north-western Zambia.