By FRANCINA PHIRI -
THE Ministry of Home Affairs has said that Italy has donated 250,000 Euros towards the refugee programmes in Zambia.
Ministry of Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Chileshe Mulenga said that the donation was in response to a call for international support made by President Edgar Lungu to the international community to support Zambia in providing assistance to refugees in the country.
Dr Mulenga said that Government needed every support they could get to care for the refugees and prevent the situation in Luapula Province from becoming a humanitarian crisis.
He said that the support from the Italian government came at a critical time when the country was running low on essential supplies and was relocating the refugees from the Kenani transit centre to the newly established Mantapala refugee settlement in Nchelenge District.
Dr Mulenga said in a statement that as of January 30, 2018 the refugee population had risen to 14,529 and was expected to increase to 20,000 by April, 2018.
“We need every support we can get from donors and the international community at large to support the refugees as the population keeps increasing in number,” he said.
Dr Mulenga said that the donation was being disbursed through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
He said that the money would go towards providing the basic needs for the refugees especially food, clean water, sanitation, tents, blankets and mosquito nets.
Dr Mulenga said that the contribution would also help support strengthening border patrols in Luapula and Northern provinces and to assist the victims of sexual and gender based violence.
He has appealed to other donors and the international community to emulate the gesture of the government of Italy.
Dr Mulenga said that the Government required massive support to fulfil its obligation to humanity as it continued to keep its boarders open to those fleeing war and conflicts in their countries.