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Zambia: Refugee Influx Appeal No. 11/99 Situation Report No. 5 (last)


Final report due by March 31, 2000 - Period covered: December, 1999
Appeal launched on 4 May, 1999 for 6 months; extended to 31 December, 1999; programme activities now included in the 2000 Appeal;

The situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains insecure and unpredictable, causing further limited population movements into Zambia. The conflict in Angola has also intensified, adding a complicated regional dimension to the situation. Despite the uncertainty, the ZRCS continues to deliver basic care and maintenance assistance, with Federation support. The activities originally included in this Appeal are now covered under the Federations 2000 Appeal under the Southern Africa regional operation. A final report on Appeal 11/99 will be issued by March 31, 2000.

The context

On 4 March, 1999 an initial wave of some 4,000 Congolese refugees escaping the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) crossed the border into Zambia's Northern Province. A month later, an estimated 25,000 refugees had arrived. Months of living in the bush and sustained travel under conditions of duress had seriously affected the health of the refugees. The situation was aggravated by prolonged rains, affecting both the refugee camp sites and logistics (roads and communications) needed to deliver assistance.

To provide initial services for the refugees, a transit facility was established in the village of Kaputa, northern Zambia, and the government of Zambia enacted contingency plans, including the allocation of land adjacent to the town of Mporokoso where a camp was established to accommodate a maximum of 25,000 refugees.

To respond to the humanitarian situation and to support the Zambia Red Cross Society (ZRCS) in delivering urgently needed assistance, the Federation launched an appeal on 4 May, 1999 for CHF 1,707,000 to provide assistance to refugees for 6 months.

Latest events

Despite efforts by the international community to resolve the crisis in the DRC, progress has been limited, with little anticipation of voluntary repatriation. Meanwhile, the conflict in Angola has intensified, with the government reportedly advancing in its campaign against the UNITA forces. Both conflicts have assumed wide-ranging regional dimensions, with the war in Angola leading to a considerable increase in the number of Angolan refugees into the northwestern and western provinces of Zambia. About 30,000 Angolan refugees are reported to have entered Zambia since the increase in fighting in the last quarter of 1999. Some 9,000 Angolan refugees have reportedly arrived in Sinjembela, Zambia, while almost 4,500 are located in Kalabo.

The social, economic and military situation in the DRC remains unpredictable. The signing of the peace accord and the setting up of the Joint Military Commission to oversee the implementation of the peace accord have had a limited on the conflict. Despite the agreement, foreign troops remain involved in the hostilities. Intermittent clashes between the various factions have continued with each group accusing the other of violating the peace accord. Due to this scenario the refugees continue to trickle into Northern Zambia.

Most African Governments have appealed to the United Nations to send peace keepers to the DRC since the peace deal has not succeeded in taking hold. Most recently, key African leaders involved in the peace negotiations have been invited to the United Nations to discuss the peace process in the DRC.


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