A new exodus: drought refugees

Empty kimbo. Oncocua, Curoca (Cunene). Photo © Ruy Llera Blanes, June 2021.

The photo above is of a kimbo (family settlement) near the village of Oncocua (Curoca, Huíla). This kimbo, belonging to the soba Batista, is not uninhabited, however several of its youth have moved to other places in search of work in the fields or in the agro-industry to survive. In this context, soba Batista’s kimbo is one of several in Cunene province that are suffering from a new exodus caused by the drought. While some seek the Calueque area, where several agro-industrial fazendas are located, others seek to cross the border with Namibia, looking for work or trade opportunities. Many kimbos across Cunene are completely empty and abandoned.

According to recent reports in the newspaper O País, around 15,000 Angolans will already be displaced in Namibia, from both Cunene, Huíla and Namibe. Despite recent contacts between the governments of Angola and Namibia (as reported by the same newspaper), this migration continues to happen, as the problems of the communities remain unresolved. Furthermore, with restrictions caused by COVID’s health crisis, and subsequent border lockdowns, many displaced people are forced to emigrate illegally to quench their hunger.

For example, in a conversation held with communities in the Erola region (border between Cunene and Namibe), who traditionally crossed the Cunene River by canoe to do business, the local inhabitants complained about the multiplication of the suffering caused at the same time by the drought, the mobility restrictions caused by COVID and the lack of solutions by the Angolan government, in particular with regard to the lack of adequate transport routes and the authorization for cross-border circulation (as also reported by ANGOP in February this year). Poverty thus reaches a multidimensional dimension, creating “new drought refugees”. At a time when World Refugee Day is celebrated on the 20th of June, it is urgent to look carefully at what is happening on the border between Angola and Namibia.

Section of the border between Angola and Namibia. Source: Google Maps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search