Congolese refugees in Zambia and Tanzania
UNHCR staff on Wednesday delivered 4 tons of food to Congolese refugees in northern Zambia and have focused on providing the groups in the area with adequate shelter.
The number of Congolese who have arrived since 4 March is still estimated at around 5,000, but continuing rains, and reports that thousands of other villagers may cross into Zambia for safety if the fighting spreads, has made it urgent to move the refugees to other sites. There have been unconfirmed reports of more Congolese crossing into Zambia to the east in Luapula province, and indications that DRC rebels are pushing Southwest towards Lubumbashi.
Leaders of a group of 600 Congolese soldiers and policemen who fled to Zambia with refugees have requested to return to the DRC. Zambian officials have separated the fighters from the civilian asylum seekers.
Also since last Thursday, 3,522 Congolese have been registered in Kigoma, Tanzania. UNHCR staff are expecting more refugees from Kalemie, where the recent arrivals have reported heavy fighting. In all, 42,283 Congolese have crossed to Tanzania since the rebellion broke out last August.