Aid airlifted to Luanda for newly arrived DRC refugees


An aircraft carrying relief items landed in Luanda, Angola, at the weekend to assist over 11,000 people who fled recent violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations refugee agency said.

The aircraft landed from Dubai, carrying 3 500 plastic sheets as well as 100 plastic rolls to provide shelter during the rainy season, 17 000 sleeping mats, 16 902 thermal fleece blankets, 8 000 mosquito nets, 3 640 kitchen sets, 8 000 jerry cans and 4 000 plastic buckets. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will be airlifting more relief items to Angola in coming days.
“Arrivals are in urgent need of assistance including food, water, shelter and medical services,” said Sharon Cooper, UNHCR regional representative for southern Africa. “UNHCR is also procuring food locally to support the most vulnerable persons including children, pregnant women and elderly.”

The conflict in DRC’s previously peaceful Kasai region has displaced more than a million civilians since it began in mid-2016.

The border is managed by the Angolan army. UNHCR has requested the Angolan government to allow refugees to continue crossing the border and provide unhindered access to assist new arrivals, as well as not to return people fleeing the violence to the DRC.

Angola currently hosts some 56 700 refugees and asylum seekers, of who nearly 25 000 are from the DRC.

UNHCR Angola has an initial annual budget of $2.5 million to protect and assist about 46 000 people of concern. In response to the current emergency, the agency is appealing for $5.5 million to provide immediate lifesaving assistance.