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$38.2 million needed for 1997 Angola repatriation

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$38.2 million needed for 1997 Angola repatriation

21 February 1997

UNHCR launched an appeal today for $38.2 million for its repatriation programme this year for more 300,000 Angolan refugees.

More than 74,000 Angolan refugees have returned to Angola since June when UNHCR started activities in Angola. This followed a peace accord signed in November 1994, ending 20 years of civil war. The conflict claimed over 600,000 lives and forced 3 million others from their homes.

"In the last year alone, about 59,400 Angolans returned on their own to their country. Many more wish to return," said Nicolas Bwakira, UNHCR's Regional Director for Southern Africa Operations. "Angola is at the crossroads. Now more than ever we need to put in place programmes that will not only set the momentum for the return of refugees but also put in place programmes that will enable them to begin a new life."

Bwakira said with progress in the implementation of peace accords, UNHCR hopes to organize repatriation this year. He said poor funding last year did not allow UNHCR to carry out programmes for the returnees. UNHCR had to borrow $3 million from its Voluntary Repatriation Fund last month to begin this year's operations, Bwakira said.

Angolan refugees to benefit under the programme are estimated to number 200,000 in Zaire, 96,000 in Zambia, 12,000 in Congo and 1,000 in Namibia. Another 15,000 are in 32 other countries.

The amount required this year includes $12.9 million for transport and logistics; $1.6 million for domestic needs and household support; $4.8 million for health and nutrition; $748,680 for shelter; $1.8 million for crop production; $1.4 million for education; $3.5 million for agency operational support; and $7.8 million for programme delivery.

The repatriation of the Angolan refugees is UNHCR's second major operation in southern Africa. It follows the successful repatriation of 1.7 million Mozambican refugees in 1995 - largest ever undertaken by UNHCR in Africa.