A team from the European Union (EU) met with Congolese refugees and familiarised themselves with the situation at Kenani Transit Centre and Mantapala Refugee Settlement in Zambia’s Nchelenge District, Luapula Province.

The team was composed of EU Ambassador to Zambia Alessandro Mariani, Ambassador Filippo Scammacca from Italy, Sylvain Berger, French Ambassador and Mark Richardson, who is Head of the DFID Office.

Ambassador Mariani stated that the “European Union wishes to congratulate Zambia for having welcomed so many refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and for providing assistance to all of them in line with Zambia’s long-standing tradition, which is exemplary to the entire world”.

Ambassador Mariani and his colleagues also expressed their utmost appreciation to the work done by UNHCR and other UN agencies present on the ground, thus showing the effectiveness of the UN system working as one with the financial support they receive, including from the EU Member States and the EU institutions.

The UNHCR and the Government of the Republic of Zambia have welcomed the visit by the four representatives.

The Home Affairs Deputy Permanent Secretary, Willies Manjimela said the Government has established a new refugee settlement – Mantapala, in Nchelenge, which required the provision of various facilities to support the lives of the refugees and kick-start livelihood activities for refugees.

“As Government, your presence is a clear testimony of the importance that the European Union and its member countries attach to humanitarian issues, in particular the Congolese refugee influx into Zambia in the spirit of burden-sharing. We are pleased for the efforts they continue to make in supporting the Government of Zambia to look after refugees. I wish to express the Government’s deep appreciation to the Federal Republic of Germany and Government of the Republic of Italy for positively responding to the call by President Edgar Lungu for the international community to support the Congolese emergency in Zambia. Italy contributed 250, 000 Euros to the Zambia refugee programme, while German contributed US$ 1,000, 000 for Zambia and Angola,” said Manjimela the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Between 1 January 2017 and 12 February 2018, the cumulative number of Congolese registered in Zambia stood at 19, 134 (Nchelenge, Lusaka, Meheba and Mayukwayukwa). Of this total, the cumulative number of Congolese refugees registered in Kenani as of 12 February was 14,771. These entered mainly through Chiengi border, while 4,363 crossed through other entry points.