Rains hamper Congo relief efforts
KINSHASA, Nov. 27 (UNHCR) - Heavy tropical rains are hampering efforts to help thousands of Angolan refugees in the Bas Congo province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
An estimated 15,000 civilians arrived in Democratic Congo in several waves since August, following a resumption of fighting in Angola's civil war in the northern Uíge province.
Since November, around half of the arrivals have been moved by UNHCR trucks to five sites in the Kimvula area, 60-80 kilometres inland from the border where they received 2-3 hectares of land and tools to begin growing crops.
The majority of refugees are women and children among whom there was already a high rate of malnutrition. Current tropical rains and the lack of plastic sheeting hampered shelter building and most refugees continued to live in community centres.
Some of the recent arrivals who were not trucked to the new sites may already have returned to home villages close to the border between the two countries, though as many as 200,000 civilians in total have fled the fighting and taken refuge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.