UN shuts down camps in Zambia after Congolese refugees go home
|Publisher||UN News Service|
|Publication Date||29 October 2010|
|Cite as||UN News Service, UN shuts down camps in Zambia after Congolese refugees go home, 29 October 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ccfd4951a.html [accessed 9 December 2013]|
The United Nations refugee agency this week closed the last two remaining camps in Zambia which hosted refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), after the repatriation of the final group of refugees.
The closure of the two camps - Kala and Mwange - marked the end of the voluntary repatriation of refugees from Zambia to the DRC organized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the agency's spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, told reporters in Geneva.
The last convoy left Kala camp on Wednesday with 131 refugees, the last of the 47,000 people that UNHCR has helped return to DRC over the past four years.
Most of those in the last group to leave headed for Katanga province in south-western DRC, where UNHCR and its partners have projects to help them reintegrate into their communities, mainly through vocational training and the provision of micro-credit. The last group to leave Mwange departed a month ago.
Some 2,000 other refugees who opted not to return were transferred to the Meheba settlement in Zambia's northwest. Unlike Kala and Mwange camps, Meheba has more land, allowing refugees to grow crops and become self-reliant.
UNHCR will facilitate the repatriation of those who eventually elect to return to the DRC on an individual basis. The 15,000 people currently living in the Meheba settlement came from Angola, Burundi, the DRC, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda. Zambia once hosted an estimated 66,000 refugees from the DRC.