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Democratic Republic of the Congo: 50,000 Congolese Citizens Expelled from Angola Trapped at Kamako Border Post (Kasai)

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50,000 people are currently trapped near the border town of Kamako (Kasaï province, Democratic Republic of the Congo) with no resources, after being expelled from Angola.

Many have had to abandon everything they own and have no means of continuing the journey to their home regions. Some have a few possessions with them, carrying their mattresses on their heads or their furniture on the baggage rack of a bicycle. But most have had to sell whatever possessions they had managed to save in order to pay for food or transport.

The evaluation team of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), currently at Kamako, reports that these people have been rendered extremely vulnerable and are suffering severe deprivation and hardship. Men, women and children are all crammed together at the border post, in Kamako and in the surrounding area, but the existing facilities are unable to meet even their most urgent needs. They lack accommodation, medical care and food, and there is a significant risk of epidemics.

Arnaud Kalenda has just arrived in Kamako. He describes the situation: “We’re really suffering here in Kamako. People are sleeping outside or in churches. Children are out in the rain.”

The ICRC and the Red Cross Society of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are enabling people passing through Kamako to make free phone calls to their families. Each day, around 100 people make use of this service. The Kamako health centre has also received food for its patients and their families.

Since the beginning of October, over 300,000 Congolese citizens have been expelled from Angola. Most of them were working in the mines. Around 70 percent of the people expelled have passed through Kamako on their way back to their homes in Kasaï province.

The ICRC is concerned about these people returning to a province that experienced serious disturbances in 2016 and 2017. Ethnic and other violence resulted in thousands of deaths and forced over a million people to flee, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In September 2017, UNHCR reported that nine out of ten villages had been reduced to ashes in the Kamako area alone.

Pedram Yazdi, Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo): + 243 817 008 536

Krista Armstrong, Geneva (Switzerland): + 41 79 79 217 32 87

Follow the ICRC on facebook.com/icrc and twitter.com/icrc