United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said refugees at Luwani Camp in Neno are living in poor housing conditions because hosting communities stopped a building project in protest over compensations.
Head of the UNHCR field unit in Mwanza, Desire Bateck, made the sentiments last week during World Refugee Day commemorations held at Luwani Camp ground in Neno.
He called on government to intervene on the issue, saying the development is delaying the construction of decent shelters for asylum seekers at the camp.
“Some villagers are against the house project for the refugees to continue. They say they are deprived of the land and claim compensations. We, therefore, need government’s intervention on this matter to go on with the project. Mozambican refugees must live safely and decently,” he said.
Bateck added that government should deploy enough social services staff to serve efficiently the rising population in the area.
“There are two medical personnel at Luwani Health Centre against a catchment area of 7 000 people. This has a serious psychological effect on the nurse and medical assistant, who are forced to work beyond their limit and burn out. Government should also bring extra staff to support teachers at Luwani Primary School,” he said.
In an interview, Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security senior deputy secretary Patricia Liabuba said government is committed to promoting living conditions of refugees.
One of the refugees at the camp, Assam Zinyongo from Ndande in Mozambique, hailed government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for hosting them and providing basic commodities in time of need.
UNHCR introduced World Refugee Day on June 20 2001 to commemorate the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees.
This year, the day was observed under the theme Together We Stand with Refugees.
Luwani Camp is home to 3 282 Mozambican refugees with only 60 houses constructed out of the targeted 500 in 2016. n