UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and partners are seeking US$65 million to help the growing number of refugees arriving in Angola from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since April, some 30,000 refugees have already arrived in Angola’s Lunda Norte province, fleeing violent attacks in the Kasai region since.
Inter-communal tensions, clashes among different militia groups and the Congolese armed forces, have now displaced more than 1.3 million people internally.
Humanitarian agencies fear the situation could develop into a large-scale conflict affecting more civilians. The number of refugees could reach 50,000 according to the government and UN estimates, with 300-500 arriving daily.
“Traumatized refugees need urgent support to ensure provision of life-saving assistance and protection,” said Valentin Tapsoba, UNHCR’s Director for the Africa Bureau.
“Angola is providing a warm welcome, but reception centres - accommodating refugees, are full beyond their capacity and basic services cannot be maintained without immediate donor support.”
Arriving refugees express fear about returning to the DRC unless the situation changes, allowing safe and dignified return. Most civilians in affected areas are at risk of serious human rights violations, including physical mutilation, killing, sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention in inhumane conditions.
Angola, a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, has historically received refugees from the DRC and other neighbouring countries. Prior to the recent influx, Angola was hosting some 15,600 refugees - including more than 13,400 from the DRC.
UNHCR needs US$35 million till end of the year to continue assisting refugees in remote parts of Angola, but sustaining life-saving assistance won’t be possible without more funding.
Current humanitarian activities are supported with US$10 million by the UN’s Central Emergency Fund.