By FRANCINA PHIRI –
UNITED Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) public information associate Kelvin Shimo has said that the number of asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at Kennan Refugee Camp in Nchelenge District in Luapula Province has now shot to 8,000.
Mr Shimo said in an interview yesterday that the number kept escalating and that more than 100 refugees entered Zambia through Nchelenge border everyday.
He said 8,000 refugees were in Nchelenge by November 30, this year.
Mr Shimo also said that the Commission had received assorted goods worth 50,000 Euros from Germany Embassy.
He said the assorted goods which included solar lamps, Chitenge materials, clothes and footballs were meant to support the refugees at the camp.
Mr Shimo said that funding was still a challenge hence there was need for Government and well wishers to respond to their plight in any way possible.
He said that with the increase in the number of refugees, there was need to move the refugees to a permanent camp saying that the transit centre was not able to accommodate a huge number.
“It is not easy to host a huge number of people considering the logistical problems and the whole process of hosting and providing requires a lot of help from donors,” Mr Shimo said.
And Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Buleti Nsemukila said Government was doing everything possible to ensure that the refugees were hosted and peace was maintained.
Dr Nsemukila said so far, Government has deployed security officers and health personnel to tighten security as well as to ensure that people were in good health.
He applauded the UNHCR for their input despite having financial constraints and urged them to continue showing care to the people.