JOHANNESBURG, 13 March (IRIN) -
Fighting between Angolan government forces and UNITA rebels along Angola's
southern border has resulted in an estimated 300 Angolan refugees seeking
asylum in Namibia per month, humanitarian officials told IRIN on Monday.
Those fleeing are processed at the border by UNHCR and then taken by road some 250 km south to the Osire refugee camp. Although some of the refugees have been in the camp since 1992, officials said many had arrived since late November when the Namibian government invited Angola to use some of its northern bases to launch attacks against UNITA.
"We are extremely grateful to the United States government for their response to this emergency," said WFP information officer Maria Flynn, who added that refugees at Osire camp are receiving food donated to the agency by the US government.
WFP officials said the agency has over 200 mt of food in their Osire warehouses which is being distributed to nearly 10,000 refugees at the camp. "This is more than sufficient to feed all the current refugees for at least two months," said Anna Maria Vaal de Silva, WFP's Officer-in-Charge of Namibia.
WFP added that more food supplies are expected in the next two weeks to replenish the quantities and to cater for any new influx from the border. The US government, added WFP officials, has donated US $450,000 to the agency for this purpose and further donations are expected in coming months.
"Many of the refugees are malnourished and without any means of sustenance other than the rations they receive from WFP," Flynn said. She added that the refugees receive a standard ration of maize meal, split peas, cooking oil and iodised salt. "People in need of therapeutic feeding also receive fortified corn soya blend (CSB) and sugar," Flynn said.
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