From PEDRO AGOSTO in Luanda, Angola
LUANDA, (CAJ News) – CASH-strapped humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organisations are making frantic efforts to raise funds for the growing number of refugees arriving in Angola from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Inter-communal tensions and clashes among different militia groups and the Congolese armed forces in the Kasai region have since April forced some 31 000 refugees to Angola’s northern Lunda Norte province.
The number of refugees could reach 50 000, according to the Angolan government and United Nations estimates, with 300 to 500 new refugees crossing the border daily.
Raging conflict has in total displaced more than 1,3 million people inside the DRC. Humanitarian agencies fear the situation could develop into a large-scale conflict affecting more civilians.
A US$65,5 million (R856,65 million) Angola Inter-Agency Refugee Appeal was launched in Geneva, Switzerland early June and followed by regional launches in Luanda, Angola later that month.
Another funds appeal is set for Pretoria, South Africa Tuesday to mobilize resources for the refugees.
The appeal campaign has meanwhile only received 16 percent of the requested funding, with the remainder urgently required to continue providing life-saving protection and assistance to the Congolese refugees.
Arriving refugees express fear about returning to the DRC unless the situation improves sufficiently so as to allow for a safe and dignified return.
Most civilians in affected areas are at risk of serious human rights violations, including physical mutilation, killing, sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention in inhumane conditions.
Prior to the recent influx, Angola was hosting more than 13 400 from the DRC.
– CAJ News