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Zambia is home to thousands of refugees from DR Congo
More than $74m ($55m) is needed this year to address the critical needs of Congolese refugees in Zambia, according to the local United Nations (UN) refugee agency.
Conflict in a number of regions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has led to more than 20,718 Congolese seeking refuge in Zambia since January last year.
That number is expected to rise significantly if the crisis continues.
As a result, the Zambian government, UN agencies and other partners are all in need of assistance, Giulia Ricciarelli-Ranawat, of the UN refugee agency, told reporters in Lusaka.
“These needs are urgent and across sectors; they include international protection, food, water and sanitation, nutrition, shelter, health, relief items and accommodation in conditions that meet humanitarian standards,” she added.
Ms Ricciarelli-Ranawat said many of the refugees have been identified as being particularly vulnerable – including “single parents, separated and unaccompanied children and other children at risk, persons living with disabilities and elderly refugees; women and young people who are victims, or at risk of sexual violence, exploitation and HIV infection”.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo said numbers will rise from 42,000 to 76,000 refugees by the end of this year if the situation does not improve.
“In view of this scenario, it is obvious that facilities in the reception centres set up along the border with the DR Congo are inadequate to cater for an increase in arrivals,” he said.