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Congolese refugees in Zambia

Briefing notes

Congolese refugees in Zambia

16 March 1999

UNHCR staff in northern Zambia are bracing for the arrival of more refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo as fighting continues between rebels and pro-government forces near the towns of Pweto and Pepa in the DRC, driving more and more Congolese out.

UNHCR staff at the Kalanda border crossing point yesterday heard gunfire from across the border as they counted 900 arrivals in a single hour, but there were no injuries reported among the latest arrivals.

More refugees were entering Zambia at other points along the border, making it difficult to estimate the total number of new arrivals. Since Friday, 5 March, Zambia has received at least 6,000 Congolese, including 750 DRC soldiers and policemen.

UNHCR has dug 100 pit latrines in the town of Kaputa, where most of the refugees are sheltered and where continued rains have made sanitation an urgent priority. The refugees will be moved shortly to a site at Mporokoso, around 200 km further inland from Kaputa.