Angola + 1 more

Zambia-Angola: Stranded refugees rescued

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JOHANNESBURG, 31 January (IRIN) - Angolan refugees stranded in western Zambia due to heavy rains and a swollen Zambezi river have been rescued in a seven-day airlift by the United Nations.
The combined UN agency operation flew 2,288 refugees from Kalabo on the western bank of the Zambezi to Mongu, further inland, from where they are being transported by road to a long-established refugee camp at Mayukwayukwa, a World Food Programme (WFP) official told IRIN on Monday.

The agency also positioned 210 mt of food - enough to feed 4,000 people for three months - in Kalabo to cover the needs of the remaining 1,500 refugees and the trickle of Angolans that are crossing the border daily into southwestern Zambia.

The WFP official said the condition of the refugees, who had fled fighting over the past month in southeastern Angola, "was not very good, but they were able to get on the aircraft unassisted". He added that with government forces seemingly in control of the Jamba region, a fresh influx of refugees was not expected into the area.

However, humanitarian officials said they were especially concerned about an estimated 7,500 people also stranded further south on the western banks of the Zambezi at Sinjambela. Their transfer to a new inland camp at Sioma cannot be conducted by air for lack of a landing field in the area.

[ENDS]

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