Angola refugee reception centres "struggling" to accommodate daily arrivals

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Congolese women and children arrive at a border point in Chissanda, Lunda Norte, Angola after fleeing militia attacks in Kasai Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNHCR workers were waiting to register them and organise onward transportation to camps or settlements. Photo: UNHCR/Pumla Rulashe

Refugee reception centres in Angola are over-crowded and struggling to accommodate daily arrivals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said.

Some 20,563 refugees have now arrived in the southern African nation, according to government estimates, fleeing insecurity and violence in the DRC's Kasai region since early April.

Ana Carmo reports.

More than 3,000 refugees from the DRC have crossed into Dundo in Lunda Norte Province in the past few days, UNHCR' Spokesperson, Andre Mahecic, confirmed on Friday.

The agency's partners are pitching tents and distributing plastic sheeting to provide adequate shelter, prioritizing the most vulnerable people.

New arrivals are receiving food and relief items and those with severe wounds and burn injuries are being transferred to a local hospital to receive urgent medical attention.

When asked by a reporter in Geneva how refugees got their burn injuries, Andre Mahecic had this to say.

"The situation is unfolding in a very remote area. We are talking about the north-eastern part of Angola, and also people fleeing from the Kasai region which is in itself a remote area, very difficult to operate in with internal massive displacement in Kasai. We do not have details of the origins of these injuries but clearly those who are being taken care of are people who have fled the fighting and violence inside the DRC. We can obviously look more into that and provide the details as they become available."

UNHCR is currently assisting the Angolan authorities to identify a suitable site for the relocation of refugees from the temporary reception centres, Mr Mahecic said.

Ana Carmo, United Nations.

Duration: 1’21″

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