Angola + 1 more

ACT Appeal Zambia: Repatriation and general assistance to Angolan refugees - AFZA31

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Appeal Target: US$ 2,077,314
Geneva, March 5, 2003

Dear Colleagues,

Approximately 40,000 Angola refugees in Zambian refugee camps have registered and showed a strong will to repatriate back to Angola during this year 2003. The UNHCR office in Zambia working together with officials from the Zambian Ministry of Home Affairs, have been visiting the refugee camps to get refugee's views on repatriation at the same time providing the refugees information about the repatriation plans. A tripartite agreement between the Angolan Government, Zambian Government and the UNHCR was signed late last year for the repatriation of the refugees. This was following the death of the UNITA leader, Jonas Savimbi in February 2002 and the subsequent cease fire agreement signed between the Angola Government forces and UNITA movement.

The Lutheran World Federation /Zambia Christian Refugee Services (LWF/ZCRS) will play a key role in the repatriation program as they have been tasked to manage the transit centers on the repatriation routes. This will include the provision of shelter materials, water, non food items, and also providing general awareness to the repatriating refugees on issues like; landmines, HIV/AIDS, and conflict resolution. As not all the refugees would be willing to return to Angola during 2003, LWF/ZCRS will continue being responsible for the management of the Angolan refugee camps. Over 30,000 refugees will remain in the camps.

ACT Coordinating Office plans to send its Communications Officer and Appeals Officer later in the year to follow up on progress on the repatriation program so that the alliance would be appropriately informed.

Project Completion Date: 31 December 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested


US$
Total Appeal Target(s)
2,067,314
Communications and Appeals Officer field trips
10,000
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
0
Balance Requested from ACT Network
2,077,314

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
UBS SA
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2
SWITZERLAND

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

Ms. Elizabeth Ferris
Co-ordinator
Diakonia & Solidarity
World Council of Churches
Thor- Arne Prois
Director, ACT
Robert GRANKE
Director
LWF/World Service

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER INFORMATION

  • Lutheran World Federation - Zambia Christian Refugee Service (LWF/ZCRS)

II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER & PARTNERS

LWF/ZCRS has been involved in refugee work in Zambia, since 1966. It has established a track record in rendering emergency relief to refugees, management of refugee settlements and voluntary repatriation of refugees to their countries of origin. It was involved in the establishment and management of Mayukwayukwa refugee settlement in 1966, Meheba refugee settlement in 1971, (until 1982 before returning in 1996) and Ukwimi refugee settlement for Mozambican refugees in 1986. LWF/ZCRS was also involved in the successful repatriation of Mozambican refugees in 1994. It is currently the lead-implementing partner in Meheba, Mayukwayukwa and Ukwimi refugee settlements. LWF/ZCRS is also involved in resettling local Zambians in Ukwimi (Eastern Province) and in Community development in four (4) districts of the Eastern province.

UNHCR and the Governments of Angola and Zambia will direct the repatriation exercise of Angolan refugees in 2003. In Zambia UNHCR and the Government of Zambia will assume the overall coordination of the operation by LWF/ZCRS. Apart from LWF/ZCRS, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), GTZ, and UN Agencies such as WFP and UNICEF, plus Non-Governmental Organisations such as CARE International, MSF-France, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Zambia Red Cross Society, Association to Aid Refugees (AAR), Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA), Christian Outreach Relief and Development (CORD), Africare etc will be involved in providing support to implement the various repatriation activities. All these organisations - except for GTZ who are only involved the surveying of routes from Zambia to Angola - currently operate in the refugee camps and settlements in Zambia.

UNHCR and the Government of Zambia will also direct the provision of assistance to new refugees and continued care and maintenance of refugees who will not be repatriated in 2003 in the three settlements in which LWF/ZCRS is the lead implementing partner.

III. DESCRIPTION of the EMERGENCY SITUATION

Background

Refugees have been arriving into Zambia over the past four decades. The first settlement established for refugees was Mayukwayukwa in Western Province in 1966. Since then the arrival of refugees has led to the establishment of several other settlements specifically at Meheba, and Ukwimi plus refugee camps at Nangweshi, Kala and Mwange.

In the 1970s as the struggle for liberation and independence intensified many Angolans were displaced, with a good number seeking asylum in Zambia. After the attainment of independence in 1975, widespread-armed conflict between Government and UNITA troops ensued. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s countless thousands of Angolans continued to stream into neighbouring countries, including Zambia, many of them being people from rural areas. The period after the collapse of the Lusaka Peace Accord of 1994 was followed by an intensification of the armed conflict, which led, since 1999, to a fresh influx of refugees that only reduced considerably after the February 2002 events in Angola.

Current Situation

The death of the UNITA leader, Jonas Savimbi in Angola on 22 February 2002 has led to increased prospects for peace and thus the voluntary repatriation of Angolan refugees in neighbouring countries has become a reality. The months following the death of the UNITA leader have seen a ceasefire agreement being reached between the Angolan Government forces and UNITA. Moves to demobilise and disarm UNITA soldiers have been initiated. The increasing involvement and intervention of the UN and foreign Governments, from the Region and the West, has led to meaningful progress in the restoration of political stability and peace in Angola. The promise of General Elections in 2003 is an indicator of the progress made so far. International aid agencies have greater access to areas previously closed and have come across thousands of starving and sick people. These developments in Angola have led to a gradual slow down of new arrivals since late February 2002. By the end of November 2002 the influx of new Angolan refugees into Zambia had virtually been curtailed. A few thousand refugees are believed to have already spontaneously repatriated back to Angola from Zambia and other countries without any assistance.

The assisted Angolan refugees at Meheba, Mayukwayukwa, Nangweshi and Ukwimi have expressed mixed views about the recent lull in fighting and the ongoing peace initiatives in Angola.

The recently arrived refugees, i.e. refugees who entered into Zambia in recent years i.e.1999 to 2002, are more likely to return and probably form the bulk of these refugees who have already spontaneously repatriated. An estimated 40,000 Angolan refugees are expected to repatriate in 2003. Several Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) /UNHCR missions have visited the settlements to source the views of the refugees and to provide preliminary information about the Repatriation plan.

On the other hand, refugees who have been in Mayukwayukwa and Meheba for longer than two generations - estimated at more than 30 000 - have appeared to be more cautious about their prospects of repatriating back to Angola, probably as the roots to their country of origin are more difficult to trace, given the social and economic destruction brought about by the prolonged civil war. This group plus an estimated 6,000 new refugees will require general care and maintenance assistance throughout 2003.

Like Nangweshi, the caseload of Angolan refugees at Ukwimi consists mainly of ex-combatants from UNITA who are unlikely to opt for repatriation in 2003. This group will probably repatriate in 2004.

Impact on Human life

The total number of Angola refugees assisted and therefore living in the camps and settlements are in the region of 85 000. Of this number it is estimated 40,000 Angola refugees are expected to repatriate in 2003. These numbers are expected to include over 80% women and children. Over 2,000 refugees with disabilities of one kind or another are included in this number of refugees expected to repatriate.

The refugees will be mainly transported through various road routes in the North West and Western Provinces of Zambia; many of which are in poor condition, over distances ranging from 150 to700 km from the settlements to the border crossing points. The road conditions in Angola coupled with the presence of mine fields will make road transportation for the returning refugees even more difficult in Angola. The refugees travelling with their belongings will stop at various assembly/departure points within the settlement, en-route and at border points where immigration and customs formalities are to take place before entry into Angola. The crowding of refugees at the various transit points will pose a major health and security risk. The repatriation process will therefore place a heavy burden on vulnerable persons and their families and children.

The potential and real hardships that returning Angolan refugees are to face will require that any proposed response takes into account support to vulnerable groups and unaccompanied minors, Health and Nutrition including First Aid support and provision and distribution of food and the need for physical protection and security.

In spite of the planned and expected repatriation, about 6,000 new refugees are expected to cross into Zambia and settle at Meheba, Mayukwayukwa and Ukwimi mainly due to the continuing unrest in the DRC, Burundi and Rwanda. The new arrivals are expected to have no food and be in poor health on arrival in Zambia. In addition infant mortality is high and malnutrition is likely to be prevalent amongst the under 5 children.

Locations and Organisations Involved in Proposed Response

The project will be focused on assisting 28,000 Angolan Refugees from Mayukwayukwa and Meheba return to their homeland Angola; and care and maintenance of 45,000 refugees who will remain in the three settlements in which LWF/ZCRS is the main implementing partner after the repatriation. While the spontaneous repatriation of a limited number of Angolans has already taken place since July 2002 and is likely to continue until April 2003, there has been no organised and formal support for the returnees.

The organised assisted repatriation phase is expected to begin in May 2003 and will involve activities leading up to the assembly and transportation of returning Angolan refugees mainly from Meheba and Mayukwayukwa in organised conveys through several border crossing points along the Zambia/ Angola border for those destined to return to Moxico Province and to the nearest Airport for those that will require airlifting out of Zambia to their home provinces in Angola. The preparation activities for the repatriation however, will begin in January 2003.

LWF/ZCRS is the main implementing partner for GRZ and UNHCR in the three settlements of Meheba, Mayukwayukwa and Ukwimi. LWF/ZCRS will therefore be involved in several repatriation activities including registration; mine awareness campaigns; providing general operational support; construction of reception and transit centres in the settlements at various stop over points and at selected border points; support to vulnerable groups and unaccompanied minors; provision of general community services; distribution of food and Non-Food Items for vulnerable persons requiring pre-departure assistance. The likely border points to be used include Sikongo and Lukulu for refugees leaving Mayukwayukwa and Kampanda, Jimbe, Sakapoti, Lwawu, Chingi, Nguvu and Kayombo for refugees leaving Meheba.

IOM and GTZ are likely to be involved in the logistics and transportation of refugees. MSF France, UNICEF and AHA may be involved in the provision of basic medical assistance prior to departure including immunization and vaccinations for departing children, provision of clinics for chronically ill refugees patients and medical assistance to children and expectant mothers. WFP will provide food resources. GRZ and UNHCR will be responsible for the overall coordination of activities and maintaining contact with Angola Government authorities. GRZ will in addition provide security for the convoys of returning refugees at key points of transit and departure from Zambia.

The same stakeholders indicated above - except GTZ - including LWF/ZCRS, Government of Zambia and UNHCR will be involved in receiving newly arriving refugees to the settlements and rendering humanitarian assistance, plus care and maintenance for the rest of the refugees in the three settlement in which LWF/ZCRS is the lead implementing partner. That is a total of 51, 000 refugees made up of an estimated 6,000 new refugees plus 45,000 remaining refugees at Mayukwayukwa, Meheba and Ukwimi refugee settlements.

Emergency Statistics

It is anticipated that 40,000 Angolan refugees will repatriate in 2003. This caseload will come from Meheba, Mayukwayukwa and Nangweshi. It is unlikely that any repatriation of Angola refugees will take place from Ukwimi in 2003. The departures are estimated at 15,000 refugees from Meheba, 13,000 refugees from Mayukwayukwa and 12,000 refugees from Nagweshi.

It is also anticipated that Meheba will receive 4,000 refugees in the course of 2003 from the greater lakes region. Mayukwayukwa and Ukwimi are expected to receive 1,500 and 500 refugees respectively. In all it is anticipated that 6,000 new refugees will be received during the course of the year. Out of the current 73,000 refugees in Mayukwayukwa, Meheba and Ukwimi refugee settlements, 45,000 refugees will remain after 28,000 Angolan refugees have repatriated to Angola in 2003.

Current Security Situation

The long running civil war between the Angolan Government troops and UNITA has been halted after a cease-fire agreement between the two sides earlier in the year following the death of the UNITA leader in February 2002. The absence of warfare and the political developments towards peace have made the prospects for assisted voluntary repatriation possible in 2003. However the presence of land mines along many road routes in the Angolan countryside and the shortage of food are factors that could impact negatively on the repatriation exercise.

The volatile security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo following withdrawal of Rwandese and Ugandan army troops has led to the creation of a power vacuum in certain locations and skirmishes between the local forces and other militia groups resulting in the flight of Rwandese and Burundian refugees into Zambia together with some Congolese nationals. The unrest in the DRC should see the flight of several thousands persons into Zambia.

IV. GOAL & OBJECTIVES

Goal

The goal of the project is the survival and alleviation of suffering of refugees from conflict areas through the provision of basic needs, the creation of an enabling environment for refugees to rebuild their lives and repatriation.

Objectives

  • To assist Angolan refugees prepare for voluntary repatriation

  • To repatriate Angolan refugees safely in a humane and dignified manner.

  • To transport new refugees from the border reception centres to the settlements.

  • To assist refugees with requirements for the fulfilment of their basic needs.

  • To assist refugees with material and technical support for the building of their capacities for self-management and self-sufficiency.

  • To assist refugees acquire knowledge and skills for their development and integration into local communities

  • To promote environmental health and HIV/AIDS awareness amongst the refugee population

Repatriation Activities
  • Creating awareness on landmines

  • Conducting awareness workshops on HIV/AIDS

  • Conducting workshops on Conflict Resolution

  • Transporting returning refugees from their homes to pick up points within settlements

  • Constructing transit centre

  • Providing shelter materials

  • Developing water points at reception and transit centres

  • Providing non food items to the most vulnerable returnees

  • Upgrading access roads

  • Provision of Social and Community services

  • Provision of medicines to refugees repatriating to Angola

  • Provision of general project services e.g. registration, and administration of the projects

General Assistance Activities
  • Transporting new refugees from border reception centres to settlements

  • Distribution of basic food items

  • Transportation of non-food items

  • Provision of shelter / infrastructure

  • Site preparation and development

  • Provision of water and sanitation facilities

  • Provision of environmental/ community health services

  • Provision of food security and agricultural services

  • Provision of community infrastructure and services

  • Provision of educational services

  • Assisting in the registration of arriving refugees in coordination with Government authorities and UNHCR

  • Training Refugee Village Committees to maintain and manage local water points

  • Conducting Health and Nutrition, Gender, Human Rights awareness and HIV/AIDS prevention workshops

  • Conducting Conflict Resolution workshops

  • Maintenance of infrastructure within the settlement

  • Administration of settlements.

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