An estimated 25,000 Zimbabweans are heading for Zambia as they flee anti-immigrant violence in South Africa with thousands of others leaving for Mozambique and Botswana, the Red Cross said Monday.
“In Zambia, our teams are expecting the arrival of 25,000 Zimbabweans, or 5,000 families,” Red Cross director for Southern Africa, Francoise Le Goff, told AFP on Monday.
“At least 5,500 Zimbabweans have had assistiance to Mozambique,” she added, and 342 had been received in centres near the border with Botswana.
Anti-immigrant violence has raged in South Africa over the last two weeks, leaving 50 dead and an estimated 35,000 displaced internally.
Authorities in Mozambique have said about 26,000 citizens have returned home since the violence began on May 11.
About three million Zimbabweans are believed to have fled an economic meltdown in their country to seek work in South Africa.
They and other foreigners are being blamed by locals in poor slum aeras for unemployment and high crime.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said on Sunday that Zimbabweans fleeing the anti-immigrant violence could have land if they returned home.
“Our land is still there, even for youngsters, those who are in South Africa who wish to return to the country,” he said.