Government’s task of looking after refugees is enormous, requiring support from various stakeholders, Zambia’s Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Abdon Mawere, has said.
Commissioner Mawere said this today at a ceremony when he received a donation of assorted commodities, worth K200, 000 (US$20, 000), from the Lions Club of District 413 Zambia at Kenani refugee transit centre in Luapula’s Nchelenge District.
“As Government, we are trying as much as possible. But keeping refugees is a heavy burden, which Government alone cannot bear. We are very grateful for the help from the Lions, for finding your way to Nchelenge. And this demonstrates that Zambians are with us, demonstrated through this spirit of giving and we want every help we can get,” said the Commissioner for Refugees.
The Commissioner for Refugees further expressed appreciation that following President Edgar Lungu’s appeal for help to the Congolese refugees, some organisations were now coming forward to make contributions, especially in form of in-kind donations. He said at the time President Lungu visited Kenani transit centre on 31 October, the population at thei transit centre was only 6, 000. However, barely five weeks later, the population has gone beyond 9, 000.
Lions Club Governor for District 413 Zambia, Ms Jessica Choobe, who handed the donated materials on behalf of the Lions, said her team decided to mobilise resources to help when they heard about the plight of the refugees.
UNHCR Representative to Zambia Ms Pierrine Aylara, thanked the Lions Club for the donation to refugees, whom she described as having many needs.
The donated materials include clothes, blankets, mosquito nets and assorted medicines.
Earlier, the Lions members, from several districts of Luapula province, such as Kawambwa and Mansa, joined their leaders from Lusaka on a conducted tour of several sectors at Kenani transit centre.
On Thursday 30 November 2017, a three-person delegation from the German Embassy in Lusaka visited Nchelenge to take part in a symbolic distribution of assorted materials the embassy donated to Congolese refugees at Kenani transit visited centre and the host community. The donated materials, worth 50, 000 Euros, among other things, included solar lanterns, mosquito nets, clothes, chitenge materials and footballs.
While the majority of Congolese new arrivals are through the Chiengi border area, some are crossing into Zambia through other entry points, such as Nsumbu, Kaputa and Mpulungu in Northern. Kapushi and Kakoma, in North Western and Kasumbalesa and Sakania, on the Copperbelt province. These are relocated to Meheba and Mayukwayukwa Refugee Settlements.
A total of 4, 565 Congolese have fled to Zambia since the start of 2017 through other entry points than Chiengi. The overall cumulative number of new Congolese arrivals in Zambia so far in 2017 (Chiengi and other entry points) is: 12, 528.