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Zambia Appeals to UNHCR to Reconsider Resource Cuts Amid Drought Crisis

In a recent meeting between the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Permanent Secretary Mr. Josephs Akafumba urged the UN agency to reconsider resource cuts for Zambia in light of the ongoing drought crisis exacerbated by the El Nino phenomenon.

During a courtesy call by the incoming UNHCR Regional Director for Southern Africa, Ms. Chansa Kapaya, Mr. Akafumba acknowledged the Agency’s budget priorities shifting to more vulnerable regions but appealed for Zambia to be given due consideration. 

He highlighted the adverse impact of the El Nino-induced drought on agricultural output and expressed concern that continued resource reductions for refugees were exacerbating the country’s challenges.

Mr. Akafumba emphasized the importance of UNHCR’s understanding of the challenges faced by Persons of Concern (POC) in settlements such as Makeni and Meheba. 

He hoped that the scheduled interactions with POC and farmers would provide the UNHCR Southern Regional Director with firsthand information on the hardships experienced by refugees.

In response, Ms. Kapaya commended the Zambian government for its proactive approach in addressing the drought crisis. 

She acknowledged that Zambia is not the only country affected by drought, citing Malawi and Mozambique among others, and pledged UNHCR’s support in responding to these challenges.

Ms. Kapaya also praised Zambia as a model for refugee management in the region, highlighting initiatives such as the launch of the Refugee Policy and the intention to review the Immigration Deportation Act. 

She noted that these measures set Zambia apart from other countries and demonstrate its commitment to progressive refugee management practices.

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