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DRC: UNHCR prepares for influx from Angola

Briefing notes

DRC: UNHCR prepares for influx from Angola

31 October 2000

UNHCR in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is preparing for an influx of up to 18,000 refugees from neighbouring Angola. UNHCR has received reports that between 15,000 and 18,000 displaced Angolans have gathered in border villages waiting to cross into the DRC province of South Badundu, south-east of Kinshasa. They are fleeing intensified clashes between government forces and UNITA rebels in Angola's Lunda Norte province. They are expected to cross to the DRC border town of Kahemba, where UNHCR is already looking after 10,000 Angolan refugees.

Fuel shortages and muddy roads from Kinshasa are making it very difficult to transport food and other supplies to the area. On Monday, two trucks carrying 80 metric tons of food left Kinshasa for a 1,000-km journey to Kahemba along a route dotted with military checkpoints. They are only expected to reach their destination in 10 days. More supplies will be sent by road next week. The other option of airlifting relief supplies is not feasible at the moment because of a shortage of aircraft fuel in the DRC.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo already hosts 170,000 Angolan refugees who fled during earlier stages of Angola's civil war. Intensifying fighting in Angola recently also drove thousands of Angolans into Zambia, which hosts 180,000 Angolans.