Zim launches international appeal for Mozambican refugees

Harare – The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday launched an appeal to humanitarian organisations for $10 million to assist Mozambican refugees and asylum seekers who fled armed clashes in that country.

Fighting flared up in Mozambique in 2014 after rebel group Renamo, which is also the official opposition in that country, rejected results of elections and its leader Alfonso Dhlakama returned to his base in the Gorongosa mountains.

In a speech read on his behalf, Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was committed to its international obligations pertaining to accommodation of refugees.

VP Mnangagwa said the conflict in Mozambique had led to the influx of more than 6 000 refugees in the eastern border areas of Zimbabwe, most of whom were living in villages in Nyanga and Chipinge districts.

He said limited resources had resulted in the government failing to relocate the asylum seekers to Tongogara refugee camp in Chipinge.

“Due to limited resources, the government of Zimbabwe together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees only managed to relocate 656 persons to Tongogara refugee camp by the 31st of December 2016. To date we have 964 Mozambicans at Tongogara refugee camp who are in need of food, shelter, health assistance, education and other life-saving services,” he said.

“Our emergency response to the Mozambican crisis has put a strain on our already stretched resources.”

In total, the Vice President who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs said Zimbabwe was host to over 10 000 refugees and asylum seekers.

“Zimbabwe is currently hosting a total of 10 860 registered refugees and asylum seekers among the populations, 74 percent are Congolese, 9 percent Mozambicans, 7 percent Rwandese, 7 percent Burundians and the other 3 percent is made up of Ethiopians, Eritreans, Malians and other nationalities,” he said.

Also in a speech read on his behalf, UN resident coordinator Bischow Parajuli said financial and other resources were urgently required for the government and its partners to scale–up response to the situation.

“The appeal aims to diversify the livelihood opportunities for the refugees and asylum seekers in the Tongogara camp, to empower them to become self-reliant,” he said.

“With the right support, the refugees can be an asset not a burden to the host country.”

New Ziana

June 2017
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