Zimbabwe and the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) on Wednesday launched a 10.9 million U.S. dollar inter-agency appeal to help about 11,000 refugees and asylum seekers who are staying at a refugee camp in the south-east of the country.
The appeal, which covers June to December 2017, was launched by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was represented by the Minister of State Clifford Sibanda.
In a speech read on his behalf by Sibanda, Mnangagwa said there were currently 964 Mozambicans at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge district who were in need of food, shelter, health assistance, education and other life-saving services.
“Our emergency response to the Mozambican crisis has put a strain on our already stretched resources. It is against this background that I call upon you all to donate in cash or kind to make Tongogara Refugee Camp a habitable place with full capacity to contain a mass population increase in refugees and asylum seekers,” he said.
The appeal was targeted at the international donor community, non-governmental organizations, civic society and faith-based organizations, among others.
The required funds are for protection, food security, health and nutrition, education, energy, self-reliance and livelihoods, shelter and infrastructure, water, sanitation and hygiene, logistics and operational support.
Zimbabwe hosts an estimated 17,500 persons of concern with 11,000 being refugees and asylum seekers registered at Tongogara camp and about 6,500 Mozambican asylum seekers living in villages along the border.
The government intends to relocate the Mozambicans in the border areas to the refugee camp, where the population largely comprises single women, single men, the elderly, the chronically ill, and unaccompanied minors.
Other residents at the camp are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Sudan.
The UNHCR projects that the population at the camp will rise to 12,000 by end of 2017 and 15,000 by end of 2018 due to increasing hostilities in Mozambique and the Great Lakes Region.
United Nations Resident Coordinator Bishow Parajuli said the appeal was a call to partners to renew their commitment to the vulnerable Mozambican asylum seekers who had fled conflict and were currently being supported by host communities who had limited resources themselves.
In a speech read on his behalf by UNICEF Country Representative Mohamed Ayoya, Parajuli applauded government intentions to emphasize self-reliance of refugees and asylum seekers at the camp.
“The appeal aims to diversify the livelihood opportunities for the refugees and asylum seekers in the Topngogara Camp, to empower them to become self-reliant. With the right support, the refugees can be an asset — not a burden — to the host country,” he said.
UNHCR Country Representative Robert Tibagwa thanked the government of Zimbabwe for dealing with refugees and the people of Zimbabwe for accommodating them as brothers and sisters.