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DRC: fuel shortages hamper relief to Angolan arrivals

Briefing notes

DRC: fuel shortages hamper relief to Angolan arrivals

7 November 2000

Fuel shortage in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to thwart efforts to transport aid from the capital Kinshasa to Angolan refugees arriving in the southern Bandundu province. The planned deployment on Saturday of three additional UNHCR staff had to be postponed because of the lack of aircraft fuel. UNHCR is hoping that an aircraft bringing staff, aid supplies and desperately needed diesel fuel for field vehicles will be able to fly to the town of Kahemba later today (Tuesday.)

To date, several thousand out of an estimated 18,000 people waiting to cross from Angola to DRC have reportedly crossed the border. They are currently scattered in DRC villages along the border but none have moved on to the established camps which already house 10,000 refugees from Angola. This worries the local authorities who prefer that the refugees, who may include sympathisers or even former fighters of Angola's UNITA rebel movement, be housed in official camp sites.

Meanwhile, 3 trucks with aid reached Kahemba at the weekend and will return to Kinshasa shortly to pick up more aid. Four more trucks will leave as soon as more diesel fuel is available. This fleet can ferry supplies for up to 15,000 refugees.