More than 21,000 Angolans have entered Zambia since October 1999, some 8,000 of whom have already been transferred into the existing settlements, Meheba and Mayukwayukwa.
Two significant populations of new arrivals are currently accommodated in Kalabo (5,000 estimated) and Sinjembela (7,000 estimated), both of which are located on the western banks of the Zambezi River. Due to recent heavy rains, access to refugees in these areas has been logistically difficult.
An airlift, arranged jointly by UNHCR and WFP, has been operational since 23 January. Six flights are shuttling daily between Kalabo and the town of Mongu for a period of 10 days, delivering food to Kalabo and ferrying refugees to Mongu on the return leg. In Mongu the refugees board trucks bound for Mayukwayukwa camp.
The humanitarian situation in Kalabo has improved but concerns remain about the welfare of refugees in Sinjembela. 60 metric tons of food stocks have already been delivered to Senanga - a town to the east - but onward transport to Sinjembela has been difficult because of the poor road conditions in the area and the serviceability of the Kolangola ferry.
For the Sinjembela caseload, the transfer to a new site near Sioma is expected to take place within a matter of days, following confirmation on the location of the site. Moving this group from the border area is an immediate priority.
Given the ongoing conflict in Angola, there is a possibility of additional refugee movements and UNHCR remains in a state of alert.
The total UNHCR budget for assistance to refugees in Zambia in the year 2000 amounts to US$ 6.1 million. The largest allocation is for the current emergency operation for Angolan new arrivals, budgeted at $2.5 million (this covers an initial period of six months, and will be increased further).