Ailing Congolese flee strife, swarm Angola

Congolese flee strifeFrom PEDRO AGOSTO in Luanda, Angola
LUANDA, (CAJ News) – ESCALATING violence in Democratic Republic of Congo has forced 11 000 civilians, including malnourished and sick children, to seek refuge in neighbouring Angola.
At least two children have died upon reaching Angola with from malnutrition while scores more at risk of death from diarrhea, fever and malaria.
Border points and villages inside Angola have seen a sharp increase in refugee arrivals with over 9 000 arriving in April.
The brutal conflict in Congo’s previously peaceful Kasai region, formerly a peaceful area, has already displaced more than one million civilians within the country since it began in mid-2016 pitting government forces and militia opposed to President Joseph Kabila’s unconstitutional stay in power.
Those fleeing into Angola are mainly housed in dire conditions in Dundo, the capital of north-eastern Luanda Norte Province.
Babar Baloch, spokesperson at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the new arrivals are terrified and still fear for their lives and mentioned they did not have any immediate plans to return home.
“Some parents have reportedly sent their children across the border, worrying they would be forcibly recruited by the militias if they had stayed in the DRC.”
UNHCR is negotiating with Angola for proper hosting sites as the current border locations are overcrowded and Unsuitable. It is in the process of shipping family tents, kitchens sets, blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and essential relief items to Dundo.
Angola’s wet season peaks in April and UNHCR is especially worried about the ongoing rains which could further complicate living conditions for vulnerable women, children, the elderly and the disabled.
Baloch welcomed the response of Angola in keeping its borders open for continued refugee arrivals.
“We hope that this gesture of goodwill will continue as the situation remains dire in DRC’s Kasai region.”
CAJ News

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Posted by on Apr 24 2017. Filed under Africa & World, Featured, National, News, Regional. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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