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UNHCR needs $6m for refugee integration

FORMER Angolan refugee Chitondo Kasoka (left) complaining about the state of his house (not in picture) to United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Laura lo Castro (in glasses) and commissioner for refugees Jacob Mpepo. (in white shirt) This was when the duo visited Mayukwayukwa refugee settlement in Kaoma recently. PICTURE: NANCY SIAME

NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
UNITED Nations High Commission for Refugees needs of US$6 million for this year’s local refugee integration programme.
UNHCR country representative Laura Lo Castro says the agency has raised only US$2 million.
In an interview yesterday, Ms lo Castro said she is, however, happy with the commitment from stakeholders to help the UNHCR raise the money.
“This year we have started with less money for the local integration programme for refugees and local people,” Ms Castro said.
Ms Castro said 10,000 Angolan refugees are targeted to be given resident permits and 6,000 have been found eligible.
She, however, expressed worry that Government has only issued 1,100 resident permits.
“The process is slow but I’m hopeful that the process will be expedited so that those who will be integrated will be moved to the settlement schemes before the next rainy season,” Ms Castro said.
Ms Castro said the UNHCR wants to ensure that the programme is exhausted before 2016 as it will be difficult to raise money after that.
“Afterwards, the programme will continue but without us, it will be under the vice-president’s office,” she said.
She also appealed to the government to legalise the stay of 4,000 Rwandan refugees.


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