Thirteen UN agencies and NGOs are seeking US$55 million to continue helping the growing number of refugees arriving in Angola from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since April, some 31,000 refugees have arrived in Angola’s Lunda Norte province, fleeing violent attacks in the DRC’s Kasai region.

Inter-communal tensions and clashes among different militia groups and the Congolese armed forces in the Kasai region have displaced more than 1.3 million people inside the DRC. Humanitarian agencies fear the situation could develop into a large-scale conflict affecting more civilians. The number of refugees could reach 50,000, according to Angolan Government and UN estimates, with 300 to 500 new refugees crossing the border daily.

Arriving refugees express fear about returning to the DRC unless the situation improves sufficiently so as to allow for a safe and dignified return. Most civilians in affected areas are at risk of serious human rights violations, including physical mutilation, killing, sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention in inhumane conditions.

Angola, a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, has historically received refugees from the DRC and other neighbouring countries. Prior to the recent influx, Angola was hosting some 45,700 refugees – including more than 13,400 from the DRC.

A US$65.5 million Angola Inter-Agency Refugee Appeal was launched in Geneva on 12 June, followed by regional launches in Luanda, Angola on 21 June; and Pretoria, South Africa on 3 July to mobilize resources. This appeal has only received 16 per cent of the requested funding, with US$55 million urgently required to continue providing life-saving protection and assistance to the Congolese refugees in northern Angola. Agencies are grateful for financial support already provided by donors, who have contributed with unearmarked and broadly earmarked funds, as well as directly to Inter-Agency refugee response in Angola.