‘Refugee influx puts strain on State resources’

Source: ‘Refugee influx puts strain on State resources’ | The Herald June 22, 2017

Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe is currently hosting a total of 10 860 registered refugees and asylum seekers and the country’s emergency response to the Mozambican crisis has put a strain on already stretched resources, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said. The conflict in Mozambique has led to the influx of more than 6 000 asylum seekers in the eastern border area of Zimbabwe.

VP Mnangagwa said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of State in his office, Mr Clifford Sibanda, at the launch of an inter-agency refugee appeal of $10, 953, 821 for Mozambican asylum seekers by Government, the United Nations Refugees Agency and non governmental organisations in Harare yesterday.

“The country is currently hosting a total of 10 860 registered refuges and asylum seekers of which 74 percent are Congolese, 9 percent Mozambicans, 7 percent Rwandese, 7 percent Burundians and the remaining 3 percent is made up of Ethiopians, Eritreans, Malians, Ugandans, Somalis and other nationalities,” he said.

“An additional 6 502 Mozambican asylum seekers are living in Nyanga and Chipinge districts and are yet to be relocated to Tongogara Refugee Camp. Initially, the asylum seekers settled in local communities.”

“However, owing to the deterioration in the security situation around the border, the Government of Zimbabwe saw it necessary that all Mozambicans who were settled in the 10 kilometre security buffer zone along the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border be relocated to Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge,” he said.

VP Mnangagwa said Government and UNHCR only managed to relocate 656 persons by December 31, last year and to date the 964 Mozambicans at Tongogara Refugee Camp were in need of food, shelter, health assistance, education and other lifesaving services.

He requested donations in cash or kind in order to make Tongogara Refugee Camp a habitable place with full capacity to contain a mass population increase in refugees and asylum seekers as well as improve infrastructure, sanitation, shelter and facilitate income generating projects for all refugees at the camp.

UNCHR country representative, Mr Robert Tibagwa said more than 65 million people have been forced to flee war, persecution and violence and the World Refugee Day was marked on Monday.

“It is a moment to recognise those communities and people around the world who receive refugees and the internally displaced in their midst, offering them safe haven, and welcoming them in their schools, their workplaces and their societies,” he said.

He thanked Government through its various ministries an departments dealing with refuges and the people of Zimbabwe for accommodating fellow refugee brothers and sisters from the continent and beyond.

In a speech read on his behalf by UNICEF Representative to Zimbabwe Dr Mohamed Ayoya, UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative Mr Bishow Parajuli, said the appeal calls for partners to renew their commitment to the vulnerable Mozambican asylum seekers who have fled conflict and are currently supported by communities who have limited means themselves.

“Additional resources are urgently required for the Government and its humanitarian partners to scale up protection, assistance and solutions for refugees and asylum seekers in Zimbabwe,” he said.