Refugees and host communities have access to medical and other services in Mantapala settlement
Refugees and host communities have access to medical and other services in Mantapala settlement

The Government of the Republic of Zambia, UN agencies and other partners require over US$74.2 million in 2018 to address critical needs of Congolese refugees in Zambia.

Launching the Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP), Zambian Chapter, for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) situation in Lusaka today, Minister of Home Affairs, Honourable Stephen Kampyongo, MP, appealed for increased support from donors, development partners, NGOs, the Private Sector and other institutions in order to enable the Government to fulfill its obligation.

The funding is required in view of the current emergency response in Luapula Province, increased new arrivals in Meheba and an anticipated larger influx of refugees through the North-Western and Copperbelt Provinces in the event that the situation in the DRC changes.

The Government, with support from UNHCR, other UN agencies and partners, needs to strengthen the reception capacity and improve conditions in all centres in border areas and ensure the provision of adequate clean and safe water and sanitation, core relief items, food and nutrition support, health services and shelter, among others things. Out of the more than US$74.2 million funding required, the UNHCR has, so far, received only US$8.3 million.

In line with Zambia’s longstanding history in offering international protection and assisting refugees from the region and beyond, the country currently hosts over 42,419 Congolese refugees, of which 20,718 have sought asylum in the country since January 2017. Most refugees in Zambia live in three refugee settlements, namely Mayukwayukwa, Meheba and the newly established Mantapala, which, when fully developed, will host a refugee population of more than 15,000. Other refugees are self-settled across five provinces, including urban areas such as Lusaka and Ndola. To adequately respond to the needs of Congolese refugees and the local communities hosting them, the Government further requires support to repair access and internal roads to Mantapala and Meheba Refugee Settlements, build and improve infrastructure for government workers and consolidate the provisions of essential services to refugees and host communities.

Since August 2017, Zambia has been receiving an increasing number of refugees fleeing insecurity in some parts of the DRC in most parts of Haut Katanga and Tanganyika Provinces. Most of them are arriving through informal and formal border entry points in Luapula and Northern Province. As the influx continues through the North, North-Western and Copperbelt Provinces, it is anticipated that Zambia may host altogether some 76,000 refugees by the end of 2018.

Hon. Kampyongo, therefore, called for a “whole of society” approach to the refugee crisis in Zambia, urging all actors to come together to address numerous humanitarian and longer term development gaps in the on-going delivery of protection, assistance and services to Congolese refugees in the spirit of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) to which Zambia has subscribed. Using the CRRF, the country will ensure a coherent and comprehensive inter-agency response, particularly through productive relationships with Government institutions, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society as well as the refugees themselves.

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