Repatriation of Congolese Refugees Resumes
An IOM operation to provide repatriation assistance to thousands of
Congolese refugees resumed over the weekend when more than 800
people left Kala and Mwange camps in Zambia's Luapula and Northern
provinces for a 600-kilometre overland journey to Mpulungu harbour,
on the southern shores of Lake Tanganyika.
In Mpulungu, the returnees spent the night in a transit centre
managed by the Zambian Red Cross before boarding a ship chartered
by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for
the final leg of their journey to Moba, in the Democratic Republic
of Congo's (DRC) Eastern Kantanga province.
Upon arrival, the returnees were met by UNHCR staff and given
two months food rations by the World Food Programme (WFP). The UN's
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) provided seeds and
Thirty-four boat rotations between Mpulungu and Moba are planned
before the onset of the rainy season in December to assist some of
19,400 Congolese refugees who have so far declared their intention
to return to Eastern DRC after having spent the last decade in
camps in Northern Zambia.
In the coming weeks, IOM will also resume returns by land via
the border town of Pweto.
In 2007, IOM Zambia and its partners helped more than 7,000
refugees return to their homes in the DRC with funding from the
United States government through the Bureau of Population, Refugee
and Migration (PRM) and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid
IOM is currently seeking USD 2.88 million to carry out this
year's return operation. To date, IOM has received funding pledges
worth USD 2.4 million from the EC and carry over funds from PRM
amounting to USD 300,000.
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