Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has asked for donnations of over US$74.2 million from various stakeholders in the country to in order to address the critical needs of Congolese refugees in Zambia for 2018 alone.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Kampyongo was speaking when he launched the Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRPP) Zambia Chapter in Lusaka, Wednesday.

He said there was a current emergency response and anticipated influx of refugees coming through Northern and Copperbelt Provinces.

Kampyongo appealed for increased support from donors, development partners, NGOs, the Private Sector and other institutions in order to enable government fulfil its obligation.

He said the funding was required in view of the current emergency response in Luapula Province, increased new arrivals in Meheba and an anticipated larger influx of refugees through the two provinces.

“The Government, with support from UNHCR, other UN agencies and partners, needs to strengthen the reception capacity and improve conditions in all centres in border areas and ensure the provision of adequate clean and safe water and sanitation, core relief items, food and nutrition support, health services and shelter, among others things. Out of the more than US$74.2 million funding required, the UNHCR has, so far, received only US$8.3 million,” the statement quoted Kampyongo as saying.

He revealed that the country hosted 42, 419 Congolese refugees of which 20, 718 had sought asylum in Zambia since 2017.

“In line with Zambia’s longstanding history in offering international protection and assisting refugees from the region and beyond, the country currently hosts over 42,419 Congolese refugees, of which 20,718 have sought asylum in the country since January 2017. Most refugees in Zambia live in three refugee settlements, namely Mayukwayukwa, Meheba and the newly established Mantapala, which, when fully developed, will host a refugee population of more than 15,000. Other refugees are self-settled across five provinces, including urban areas such as Lusaka and Ndola. To adequately respond to the needs of Congolese refugees and the local communities hosting them, the Government further requires support to repair access and internal roads to Mantapala and Meheba Refugee Settlements, build and improve infrastructure for government workers and consolidate the provisions of essential services to refugees and host communities,” Kampyongo disclosed.

Kampyongo added that the country had since Augusts 2017 been receiving an increasing number of refugees from the DRC.

“Since August 2017, Zambia has been receiving an increasing number of refugees fleeing insecurity in some parts of the DRC in most parts of Haut Katanga and Tanganyika Provinces. Most of them are arriving through informal and formal border entry points in Luapula and Northern Province. As the influx continues through the North, North-Western and Copperbelt Provinces, it is anticipated that Zambia may host altogether some 76,000 refugees by the end of 2018,” said Kampyongo.