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The Congos: more fighting, more displacement

Briefing notes

The Congos: more fighting, more displacement

17 November 2000

Fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is driving more people into the neighbouring Congo Republic and Zambia. UNHCR in Zambia on Thursday registered 762 new refugees in Kaputa in north-eastern Zambia between Lake Mweru and Lake Tanganyika who will now be moved to the Kala camp farther inland. The new arrivals bring the total number of civilian Congolese refugees who have fled into Zambia over the last few days to approximately 1,000. With the onset of heavy rains in Kaputa the transfer to the camp is urgent since the presence of a large number of people staying in the open in the border zone poses the risk of an outbreak of disease. Kala Camp, which was opened three months ago, currently has a refugee population of 2,350.

Meanwhile UNHCR in the Congo Republic is deploying an emergency team in Betou on the border with DRC, in the wake of an improvement of the security situation in the area. It will enable UNHCR to help an estimated 25,000 refugees from the DRC in that area. The security situation has also improved in the area of Impfondo farther south of the Ubangui River and UNHCR is planning to put some emergency staff there. There are an estimated 100,000 DRC refugees scattered along an 800 kilometres stretch of the Ubangui. Supplying them with aid be it by boat or by road, has been extremely difficult because of logistics and continued fighting along the river which occasionally spills over to the Republic of the Congo side.