ongo DRC refugees at Kenani camp transit centre in the Nchelenge
ongo DRC refugees at Kenani camp transit centre in the Nchelenge

The number of refugees fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and being hosted at the Kenani transit centre in the north of Zambia has now passed the 10, 000 mark since August this year.

Kenani is the Zambia’s largest refugee transit facility with some 10,065 people in it.

“We passed the 10, 000 mark on Saturday, and more Congolese refugees are coming in from Chiengi. The overall number of new arrivals from the DRC to Zambia so far in 2017 through Chiengi and other entry points is now nearing 14, 000,” confirmed UNHCR Representative to Zambia, Ms Pierrine Aylara.

The Nchelenge District Administration has agreed to expand the Kenani transit center, by providing more space. The newly allocated space can now accommodate an additional 1,000 refugee families/5,000 individuals as efforts are continued to open a new permanent refugee settlement within the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Government, UNHCR and partners, are working to have Congolese refugees at Kenani transit centre as well as new arrivals relocated within weeks to a new permanent refugee settlement – called Mantapala – within Nchelenge District, with more space for improved facilities.

However, limited funding might hamper the timely relocation of refugees. Additional funds are required by humanitarian and development partners to repair the main access road and to open inner roads within the new refugee settlement. The funds are further required to set up basic infrastructures such as health, water and sanitation and primary education facilities as well as other basic amenities.

While the majority of Congolese arrive through the Chiengi border area, then relocated to Kenani, some are crossing into Zambia through other entry points, such as Nsumbu, Kaputa, Nakonde 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.

Some 13, 924 Congolese have fled to Zambia since the beginning of 2017 through various entry points other (Chiengi and other entry points).

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