For nearly three decades, Angola struggled with instability fighting for its independence from Portugal and then faced a crippling civil war which left many citizens displaced in and out of the country. Now, Angola faces a new issue on the brink of their reparations for their returning citizens. Refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are flooding into the country. Here are 10 Facts about Angola refugees.
10 Facts About Angola Refugees
- The three decades of war left 550,000 Angola refugees primarily fleeing to Zambia, Congo, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa.
- Since the ceasing of war in 2002, around 70,000 Angola refugees have returned home. Many of the different types of soldiers have also returned. “There are also an estimated 4.1 million IDPs, of which 80,000 are former UNITA soldiers,” according to the Council of Foreign Relations.
- Though there are many refugees who have returned, there are still 73,000 people in exile. A lot of these people are scared to return home.
- In the end of 2016, South Africa was allowing Angola refugees, living in the country to apply for permanent residency status, for a limited time, ending the application process on the December 15th, 2016.
- In 2012, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ended the refugee status of Angola Refugees. This was part of a government plan to get refugees to return to Angola. During this time 23,000 people returned but as of 2014, 47,815 remained, not wanting to leave.
- For those who have returned to Angola, they have found the re-integration process hard to adjust to. Luckily the economy in Angola is getting a lot better but still high rates of unemployment and poverty remain. As Reported by Aljazeera.com, “Some even returned to the DRC after discovering little had been done by Angolan authorities to prepare for their arrival.”
- Now, refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are flooding into Angola, due to problems back home. More than twenty thousand refugees from the DR Congo have fled to Angola since April 2017. In the second week of March 2017, nearly 3,000 had entered Angola with 70 percent of that population being women and children.
- Many of the Democratic Republic of the Congo refugees entering Angola arrive with severe wounds and burns and must be brought to emergency medical treatment immediately. In the second week of May alone, 70 patients were being treated for extreme burns injuries.
- The UNHR is helping the Angolan government cope with the current and urgent influx of refugees. The organization provides the government with: food and relief to new arrivals, distributing and pitching up tents for makeshift shelter and finding places that are able to successfully accommodate the refugees.
- Children make up one third of the Democratic Republic of the Congo refugees entering Angola. These child refugees are also the most vulnerable group, who are dying because of lack of food, medicine and basic hygiene.
The refugee situation in Angola has come full circle for the government and people of Angola. Luckily with a stable government, Angola is now able to help refugees who are coming from neighboring countries.
– Maria Rodriguez