UNHCR Urges Malawi Against Forcing Refugees Return to Overcrowded Camp

An overview of Malawi's Dzaleka refugee camp. It was originally designed for 10,000-12,000 refugees but now is home to 56,000 refugees, according to a UNHCR official. (Lameck Masina/VOA)

UNHCR is asking the Malawi government to reconsider its decision to force refugees and asylum-seekers living in villages, towns, and cities back into the overcrowded Dzaleka camp.

In a statement released Saturday, UNHCR says relocating self-sufficient and productive people into the camp would not only lead to loss of livelihoods but also compel them to rely on dwindling humanitarian aid.

UNHCR says as of October 31 it had received less than a fourth of funds needed this year in Malawi to support the camp’s refugees and asylum-seekers.

The agency’s reporting officer in Malawi, Kenyi Emanuel, said adding the estimated 8,000 refugees living outside the camp would bring more misery.

“The camp itself is extremely overcrowded, he said. “The camp was only meant to host between 10,000 and 12,000 people but now, it is hosting 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers. It is a five-fold increase.”

Read the article on voanews.com

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