GENEVA Switzerland (Xinhua) --
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, Tuesday
expressed concern about growing violence in parts of
southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has
reportedly driven more than 3,360 refugees into northern Zambia
since Aug. 30.
“This is the largest
influx of Congolese refugees into Zambia in the past five
years,” said UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic at a UN press
“UNHCR is worried
that the insecurity in the DRC may lead to further
displacement,” he said, noting that 60 percent of those arriving
The refugees and
asylum-seekers, said Mahecic, are fleeing inter-ethnic clashes,
as well as fighting between Congolese security forces and
He said those
arriving in Zambia report extreme brutality, with civilians
being killed, women raped, property looted and houses set
They are mainly from
the DRC provinces of Haut-Katanga and Tanganyika.
Many of those
escaping DRC were already displaced internally before they
crossed the border.
“With the rainy
season approaching, UNHCR warns that the humanitarian needs of
those displaced could intensify on both sides of the border.
Many of those
arriving in Zambia show signs of malnutrition with malaria,
respiratory problems, dysentery and skin infections common among
the refugees, who are in urgent need of protection and
government, UNHCR and the Zambian Red Cross are distributing hot
meals and identifying those with specific needs, as well as
providing psycho-social support for survivors of sexual and