A senior United States of America (USA) official yesterday visited thousands of Mozambican asylum seekers at Kapise Refugee Transit Centre in Mwanza District to appreciate the challenges they are facing.
The US deputy assistant secretary of the Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, Todd Haskell, is the most senior US government official to visit the centre since Malawi started hosting asylum-seekers last year.
During the visit, Haskell was accompanied by senior US Embassy staff, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Malawi Monique Ekoko and Malawi Government officials.
According to UNHCR reporting officer Kelvin Shimoh, the delegation toured the camp, interacted with the Mozambicans and was briefed by humanitarian workers on the situation on the ground.
UNHCR described the gesture as a demonstration of the US government’s commitment to helping and finding durable solutions for asylum-seekers and refugees.
The United States is the major donor to UNHCR’s global budget.
“We are extremely grateful for the support we get from our donors and in particular for the support received from the government and people of the United States,” said a statement issued by the UNHCR yesterday.
As of yesterday, Kapise Refugee Transit Centre was hosting a cumulative figure of 11 858 Mozambicans who are fleeing their country because of skirmishes between government forces and the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) militias of opposition leader Alfonso Dhlakama.
Initially, the people were only fleeing to Mwanza, but the situation is gradually spreading to other parts of the country such as the southern tip district of Nsanje which has over the past three weeks received about 100 Mozambicans.
Haskell (R) with during the visit to Kapise.