The relocation of Mozambique asylum seekers in temporary camps to well established Luwani Refugee from Kapise in Mwanza to Luwani in Neno has been hampered by their fears of cholera outbreak and hot weather conditions.
United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) which is leading the relocation process, disclosed that 70 percent of the asylum seekers at Kapise with over 10,000 were willing to relocate to the bigger camp for proper coordination of their assistance.
Fadella Novak-Irons, UNHCR Senior Emergency Cordinator said the reluctance by asylum seekers was drawn from fears of contracting cholera which killed some during the 1990s.
Novak-Irons also said they were fearing for high temperatures and unreliable rainfall patterns associated with area unlike at Kapise which has favourable weather condition including reliable rainfalls.
But she assured that UNHCR would do an intensive awareness campaign to clear the misconception with conditions at Kapise too small to cater for their long term needs.
“Discussions with the Malawi government was done long time ago to relocate the asylum seekers from Kapise and other sites to Luwani but the situation of the roads due to rains delayed it,” Novak-Irons said.
“The situation at Kapise is overcrowded and there’s no privacy for families that’s why there is a need to find a place where they can settle. But out of 10,000 we have done a survey and established that 70 percent are willing to relocate because there’s a misconception heat or cholera outbreak which affected some of them in the 1990.”
On the first day of relocation 103 asylum seekers managed to relocate from Kapise with the others to follow within the next eight weeks.
However some of the asylum seekers 10 families were reported to returned to Mozambique but the UNHCR Senior Emergency Cordinator downplayed saying there were not from the areas affected by war.
Upon arrival at Luwani the asylum seekers had would be temporarily accommodated in transit tents 100 for every 500 people before being offered tents to live with their families where they would also be given plots of land farm.
Luwani, once used as refugee camp for Mozambican asylum seekers before has a capacity to accommodate up to 500,000 people, has better social amenities such as health facilities and school.
UNHCR helped by various partners including International Organisation of Migration (IOM), Unicef, World Food Programme, UN Women, Plan International, Oxfam, World Vision, Norwegian Church Aid, Participatory Rural Development organization (PRADO) are providing essential services which would continue at Luwani.