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DRC: supplies rushed to new Angola arrivals

Briefing notes

DRC: supplies rushed to new Angola arrivals

10 August 2001

UNHCR in the Bas-Congo region of the Democratic Republic of Congo is rushing emergency relief supplies to more than 6,000 new Angolan refugees who have fled attacks by rebel UNITA forces. Refugees told UNHCR workers that a UNITA attack on the Angolan town of Beu and surrounding villages on August 3 drove thousands of people from their homes. The town of Beu is situated some 20 km away from the Congolese border in Angola's northern Zaire province. Four successive waves of arrivals were recorded in bordering DRC villages. Some injured Angolan soldiers have arrived among the refugees and they are being taken care of by DRC authorities. Fears are that a further 3,000 refugees could be on their way to cross the border. UNHCR's early medical assessment of the group showed that about 5% of children under five suffered from malnutrition. Some injuries have also been initially reported. Medical workers say that damp and relatively cool weather poses the risk of malaria and respiratory problems. The Congolese authorities have asked UNHCR to relocate the refugees away form the border as soon as possible. They have identified three villages inside the country where the refugees could be given shelter and arable land.