The crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has caused more than a million people to flee. Some 33,000 Congolese refugees from the already registered Kasai must be transferred to the new Lovua camp in Angola. A transfer temporarily suspended, the time to pass the general elections Wednesday in Angola. This new camp located about 100 kilometers from the border and Dundo, where most of them still live with host families. Thousands of people are waiting for a roof, the needs are enormous. UNHCR needs to build nearly 50 new villages and the time is short because the rainy season is approaching.
Of the estimated 33,000 refugees, only 7,400 remain in precarious conditions in a transit camp.
A little more than 1,700 people are already living in the Lovua camp, divided into five clusters called “villages” by UNHCR. At the end of the transfer process, the camp is expected to count 54. ” There are five villages that are built, but, there are several that are being finalized. What we have planned for now is a capacity of 30,000 people in terms of shelter, in terms of water, in terms of school, since there will be one school in each village, “explains Giovanni Zanelli, UNHCR coordinator for the Lovua camp.
In just a few weeks, the United Nations must clear up roads, draw water, build schools and sanitary facilities in order to rapidly increase camp capacity.
A UNICEF engineer gives instructions and Congolese refugees are also maneuvering. The idea is to build a school in one of the already occupied villages. “We give a helping hand because it is for our good! ” Explains one of the refugees.
“We gave tools, there were not any at the beginning for everyone, now we have found tools that will be distributed to newcomers, and it is themselves – once we have done the (Labor) – who will clear the plot, “says Giovanni Zanelli
It is that everything is to be built. It’s a camp in the middle of a forest. Trees, shrubs that must be cut, cleared. And again, the refugees are called upon to clear up.
“Yes, we can say that it is a forest, there are too many trees … But it will become a city … where everyone will be at home! “A refugee rejoices.
The optimism of the refugees comes from there, despite the injuries caused by the work, despite the isolation of the camp. They will be installed on plots of 25 m by 25 m, with 625 square meters per family when they were previously housed in collective shelters.
And the Angolan government has also given land to allow refugees to cultivate and improve their daily lives.
The first five villages are finished, another five are being built according to the UNHCR and 44 more are to come out of the ground from here in the coming weeks, with runways, sanitation, access to water …
In mid-September, the first rains would complicate access to the camp for construction machinery. This is a source of concern for the refugees.