By CHIKUMBI KATEBE
OVER fourteen thousand Congolese refugees are set to relocate to a permanent settlement site at Mantapala within Nchelenge district at a cost of over US$32, 279, 067, says Kelvin Shimoh from the UNHCR Zambia public information unit.
And the UNHCR anticipates a swell in the number of new arrivals at Kenani as a result of continued conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has called for the allocation of other permanent refugee settlements in Zambia.
Mr Shinoh announced yesterday that the new facility at Mantapala has been set up with all necessary facilities to help make the lives of the over 14,000 refugees more comfortable and to engage in livelihood activities such as farming, and help them on a path to regain their dignity and become self-reliant.
He said the Zambian government secured a more permanent arrangement 40 kilometers from the transit center at Kenani where the over 100 refugees have been flocking on a daily basis.
“Kenani, which has reached its maximum holding capacity, is currently hosting over 14, 000 Congolese refugees, with an average of 100 new arrivals registered on a daily basis at the Transit Centre. “The Government of the Republic of Zambia, with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, and partners, have today started the relocation of Congolese refugees from the congested Kenani Transit Centre in Nchelenge District, in northern Zambia, to a newly opened permanent site, Mantapala Refugee Settlement, 40 kilometres from the Transit Centre within the same district,” he said.