▪ By late 2017, more than 685,000 Congolese refugees sought international protection in neighbouring countries, including Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Rwanda, the Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, as well as in countries in Southern Africa and beyond. In 2018, the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) deteriorated, spreading to previously unaffected areas. Since August 30, 2017, Zambia received refugees fleeing conflict in Pweto and Moba areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), who were first settled temporarily in Chiengi district.
▪ By September 2017 the number of arrivals had exceeded 1,000 and Kenani transit centre in Nchelenge district was opened, to which all refugees were relocated. As the number of refugees increased to over 6,000, Kenani could no longer accommodate new arrivals.
▪ Mantapala, approximately 36 km southeast of Nchelenge and spanning - 8,000 hectares, was opened in early 2018. All refugees residing at Kenani, were then relocated to the new settlement. Ever since the 2018 elections in DRC, arrivals have reduced to a steady trickle of refugees seeking international protection or family reunification.
▪ During the emergency refugee operation, the Government of Zambia, through the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs, collaborated closely with UNHCR, UN agencies and other partners. It coordinated and led the emergency response to address the most urgent protection needs of refugees such as food, shelter, water and sanitation, core relief items, and health services, and provided livelihood support and basic education for refugees to promote peaceful co-existence with local community and contribute to local economic development. As of 30 September 2020, Mantapala hosted 15,231 refugees.
▪ Today, the collaboration of the Government with UNHCR, UN agencies and other partners is aimed at providing sustainable solutions for refugees and the host community in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Seventh National Development Plan (SNDP).
▪ Considerable gains have been made regarding the construction of permanent infrastructure, the next focus will be to enhance the multi-stakeholder approach to equip structures such as health and education facilities to improve human potential and to support the inclusion of refugees in national systems in line with the Global Compact on Refugees and its Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF).