• As of 28 June 2018, a total of 15,425 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were registered at Kenani transit centre in the Luapula Province of Zambia.
• UNICEF and partners are supporting the Government of Zambia to provide life-saving services for all the refugees in Kenani transit centre and in the Mantapala permanent settlement area.
• More than half of the refugees have been relocated to Mantapala permanent settlement area.
• The set-up of basic services in Mantapala is drastically delayed due to heavy rainfall that has made access roads impassable.
• Discussions between UNICEF and the Government are under way to develop a transition and sustainability plan to ensure the continuity of services in refugee hosting areas.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
# of registered refugees in Nchelengue district
(UNHCR, Infographic 28 June 2018)
of registered refugees are women and children
# of expected new refugees from DRC in Nchelengue District in 2018
US$ 8.8 million
UNICEF funding requirement
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
The protracted political instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has led people to flee into neighbouring Zambia for refuge. The Congolese refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing conflict and violations of human rights in the DRC as government soldiers fight militia in the eastern regions of the country. Since August 2017, Zambia has been receiving an increased number of refugees from the DRC, mainly from Pweto in Haute Katanga and Moba in Tanganyika Province. A total of 18,486 refugees have been registered since then, of which more than 15,000 arrived through the Chiengi border area, in Nchelenge district of Luapula Province.1 Of these, 58 per cent are children below the age of 18 years, and 51 per cent are female (including children and adults). While the majority of the Congolese refugees have arrived in Nchelenge district, a smaller number has arrived in Western and North-Western Provinces and Lusaka who after registration are transferred to Meheba and Mayukwayukwa refugee settlements.
As at end of June, the total number of refugees and asylum seekers from DRC in Zambia stands at 42,570, of which some 23,000 are children under 18 years old. Depending on how the situation unfolds in DRC in view of the upcoming referendum and the anticipated elections later this year, more fighting and instability may occur, leading in turn to a fresh influx of refugees to Zambia, requiring increased response and resources.
While a refugee transit camp has been set up in Kenani (Nchelenge district) which is designed to hold 5,000 individuals, the congestion and insufficient basic services, including health facilities at Kenani, is putting the population at serious risk of water-borne disease as well as other communicable diseases.
The Government of the Republic of Zambia, with the support of humanitarian partners, in March 2018 started to relocate Congolese refugees from Kenani to a newly opened permanent settlement site, Mantapala, 40 kilometres from the transit centre. The new site is meant to host 25,000 refugees. Access to basic services in the new settlement has been a priority for all the partners since March 2018. Nevertheless, the heavy rains and the poor state of the roads have drastically slowed down the development of Mantapala refugee settlement. The relocation process had to stop for several weeks and resumed on 27 April 2018. The total number of refugees in Mantapala was 10,359 individuals as at 28 June 2018.
The UNICEF Response Plan in line with the revised 2018 inter-agency Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP), focuses on activities to respond to the needs of the new arrivals in Mantapala resettlement for 12 months from January to December 2018, as well as to ensure life-saving and protection services remain in place in Kenani for the remaining refugee population.