Zambia + 1 more

JRS Dispatches No. 63: Zambia - JRS looking to assist in new camp

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Joe Hampson SJ writes: "Over Christmas, JRS Zambia country director, Francis Leong, visited the Mongu and Livingstone dioceses along Zambia's south-western border with Angola. As well as strengthening links with the local church, and helping them deal with the large numbers of refugees fleeing Angola, JRS tried to assess future refugee flows. UNHCR had estimated the numbers of new arrivals at 15,000 in the last few weeks of 1999, but a more disturbing report comes now from Sioma. In a few days, 3,000 refugees arrived in Sinjembela, on the edge of Zambia's border with the Caprivi: as of 10 January, numbers seem to be around 15,000 plus, of whom a sizeable number are unaccompanied minors. The Zambian army has been placed on full alert in the area. Faced with such a development in this remote area (nearly impassable because of rains at the moment), with implementing partners stretched in the other Zambian centres of Kalabo, Zambezi and Chavuma, UNHCR has approached JRS for help in community services and education for a camp that may be established in Sioma, in Senanga, or in a nearby area. The Zambian and regional JRS offices are assessing this request, to see if we have the capacity to respond."