UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency has donated an ambulance to the Ministry of Health through the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs in Nchelenge District in Luapula Province.

Speaking when he handed over the ambulance, Head of UNHCR’s Kawambwa Field Office Hashim Sharief commended government for its continued support to refugees.

“We commend the Zambian Government for continuing to offer Congolese refugees a safe place to stay and we are committed to continue supporting the Zambian Government as it fulfills its international protection obligations and solidarity to those fleeing conflict and persecution,” Sharief said according to a statement issued by UNHCR Zambia Public Information Associate Kelvin Shimo.

And Refugee Officer for the Commission for Refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs Terry Chisha thanked UNCHR for the donation.

“The donation will support the effective and timely health service delivery among the 15,553 refugees who have arrived in Nchelenge since September 2017. As Mantapala opens up, I encourage all refugees currently residing at Kenani Transit Centre to relocate to Mantapala Refugee Settlement where they can start life afresh and rebuild their lives,” said Chisha.

Meanwhile, Shimo stated that the donation was part of UNHCR’s commitment to support government’s response to the Congolese refugee emergency in Nchelenge District, especially to ensure timely medical transfers in Mantapala Refugee Settlement for refugees and the host communities, which account to about 5,000 Zambians.

“As Zambia rolls out the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in its efforts to support communities which host refugees, when health services became available in the refugee settlement earlier this year, over 80% of consultations were by Zambian members of the host community. The donation is an addition to the aid already provided by UNHCR, including shelter for vulnerable households and provision of shelter materials for all refugees, sleeping mats, blankets, water buckets and pots, clothes, medicines among other Non-food Items. UNHCR has also supported the Government in site planning and development of Mantapala Refugee Settlement,” stated Shimo.

“In its endeavors to find a permanent settlement which would allow refugees to become self-reliant, since January 2018, UNHCR and partners has been assisting the Government to establish Mantapala Refugee Settlement by ensuring that all services such as health, education, WASH, among others, are available. As of 31 May 2018, over 6,621 refugees have relocated to Mantapala Refugee Settlement from Kenani Transit Centre. Government and partners expect the remaining 8,722 refugees currently in Kenani Transit Centre to be relocated to the new refugee settlement by end of July 2018.”