Angola hosts thousands of refugees fleeing conflict in DRC
By Santos Vilola in Luanda
The Angolan government and the agencies of the United Nations system have decided to transfer to Lóvua, Lunda Norte province, some 25,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who are victims of the political-military conflict in that country.
Angola and the United Nations have reached an agreement that allows the refugees from that country to be transferred from the temporary reception centres of Mussungue and Cacanda to the definitive centre of the Lóvua, with capacity for 30,000 people.
The zone chosen was jointly identified and certified by the demining services for the resettlement of refugees. The United Nations expects more refugees to enter Angola in the coming days as long as the conflict continues in the DRC.
The Angolan government has provided more than $3 million to support the more than 30,000 refugees from the DRC located along the border of Lunda Norte province.
The Angolan minister of Social Welfare and Reintegration, Gonçalves Muandumba, spent two days in the northern province of Lunda Norte analysing with the agencies of the United Nations system the immediate execution of tasks aimed at the transfer and resettlement of refugees from the DRC.
The multi-sectorial commission of the Angolan government and the bodies of the United Nations system, at the end of a meeting, defined the immediate tasks that should begin to be carried out in the coming days.
The document states that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), JRS and Caritas will work on the cleaning, installation of tents, latrines and opening of water holes in the new refugee camp.
The UNHCR and the Angolan government, according to the document, should ensure the provision of food and non-food, transportation and encourage the DRC authorities to establish shelters for the displaced in the provinces without conflict, to accommodate refugees who are in Lunda Norte.
The guarantee of doctors and medical assistance to refugees is the responsibility of Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO and the Angolan Government.
UNHCR has asked the Angolan government to continue the “good work” it has been developing to safeguard the country’s image vis-à-vis the international community.
When a citizen decides to flee to another country, said UNHCR’s Pierringi Awlara, nobody should stop him because it is a matter of life and death. Awlara has called for the Angolan authorities to open the border with the DRC to save lives.
“It is inhuman to see innocent children with limbs amputated,” said the UNHCR liaison officer, who was moved by a child at the border with serious injuries.
The Angolan secretaries of State of the Interior, Assistance and Social Reintegration, Agriculture, Health, Territorial Administration and Foreign Affairs were included in the multi-sectorial delegation that visited the province of Lunda Norte.
For two days, the delegation and representatives of the United Nations system agencies visited the Txissanda border post, the Mussungue and Cacanda shelters and the David Bernardino hospital, in central Mussungue.