Appeal to Help Thousands of DRC Refugees Return Home

Posted: 
03/15/07

IOM has launched an appeal for USD 5.3 million to help about 20,000
refugees who are living in camps in Zambia return home to the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this year.

The appeal follows a request by the two relevant governments and
UNHCR for IOM to assist refugees in returning to the DRC and for
the Organization to assess and rehabilitate roads and bridges along
the 325 km main convoy routes between the two countries. In the
DRC, IOM has already been implementing road and infrastructure
rehabilitation in Katanga province in anticipation of the return of
Congolese refugees with funding from ECHO and other donors.

The return of the refugees follows a tripartite agreement on the
voluntary repatriation of DRC refugees signed last November between
the Zambian and DRC governments and UNHCR.

Zambia currently hosts more than 120,000 refugees from various
neighbouring countries, more than 61,000 from the DRC of which two
thirds are living in camps.

Depending on funding, 20,000 refugees from Meheba, Kala and
Mwange camps in western and northern Zambia will be taken to
reception centres in Katanga province in Eastern DRC between mid
April and mid December.

Prior to departure, IOM will also provide information on
HIV/AIDS awareness as well as on arrival at final destinations.

This operation builds on IOM's experience in Zambia where, for
the past four years, the Organization has provided return
assistance to about 74,000 Angolan refugees.

For further information, please contact:

Joseph Ogina

Chief of Mission

IOM Zambia

Tel: +260 97 74 05 51

E-mail: "mailto:jogina@iom.int">jogina@iom.int