Government says the relocation of Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa to Katili in Karonga will take a long time due to the ongoing process of ascertaining the conduciveness of the proposed area.
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia, said a study to determine whether the proposed area is favorable will take a long time.
“The study will involve a number of things which cannot be completed in a short period,” she said.
According to Chiumia, the decision to relocate the refugee camp follows a concern by government that the camp at Dzaleka was near Lilongwe, the capital city, a development that compromises the country’s security.
“Malawi is one of a few countries in Africa that has a refugee camp close to the capital city. Government decided to relocate the camp to a border district where most of the refugees pass through,” she said.
During the announcement of the plan last year, Chiumia assured the people of Karonga that the process is beneficial because water points and school blocks will be constructed and Katili Health Centre rehabilitated.
The plan has however has brought mixed feelings among people of Karonga with some even threatening to sue government if continues with the plan.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 27 000 refugees will be transferred from Dzaleka to Katili.