Roughly 200 Angolans a day are fleeing the insecure northern province of Lunda Norte into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva on Tuesday.
The refugees, escaping fighting between Angolan government forces and UNITA rebels, are arriving in the Kahemba region of the southwestern DRC province of Bandundu. “UNHCR now estimates that there are about 12,500 refugees settled in four scattered sites in the area - Kulindji, Chifwameso, Mwa-Mushiko and the newest, Bindu. Among them, some 3,000 have arrived in the past six weeks and 5,000 since March,” Redmond said.
He said there was an urgent need for more shelter, as people were camping under trees. Medical assistance and food were also in short supply, Redmond added. “Logistics are very difficult in the region because of bad roads and there are about 30 roadblocks set up by the DRC army on the roads from Kahemba.”
Redmond said UNHCR had set up a small office in Kahemba to intensify its assistance to the needy. “Around a dozen trucks are delivering food and non-food items each month, and it takes them approximately 10 to 15 days to make the trip,” Redmond said.
He said a UNHCR mission had been visiting Bindu and Kulindji since Saturday to assess conditions in those sites and would be visiting Chifwameso before returning to Kinshasa on Wednesday.