The alarming upsurge in refugees and asylum seekers globally due to increased conflicts has become a major source of concern with calls being made to reduce military conflicts while increasing refugee support.

The number of refugees in the world increased by 16.2 million last year to 68.5 million people with population at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge rising to 12 234 following conflicts that affected parts of Mozambique last year.

Speaking during the belated World Refugee Day commemorations at Tongogara Refugee Camp, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Cde Petronella Kagonye who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry Mr Ngoni Masoka said the alarming increase of refugees calls for more support than ever to cater for their welfare and Zimbabwe is seeking to achieve this.

“Zimbabwe is making frantic efforts to ensure that Tongogara effectively cater for the displaced with the help of partners that include the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), China and USAID,” she said.

The Minister of State for Manicaland Province Senator Monica Mutsvangwa who was represented by the Provincial Administrator Mr Edger Seenza said Zimbabwe remains committed to supporting refugees at Tongogara Camp while UNHCR country representative to Zimbabwe Mr Robert Tibagwa said increasing numbers of asylum seekers and refugees now mean their care must be a global shared responsibility.

Representative of refuges at Tongogara commended the government of Zimbabwe and its partners for making efforts to improve their welfare while appealing for more assistance in the construction of houses in line with the increasing demand.

Meanwhile, a police post constructed in the camp to improve the security of refugees was handed over to the Zimbabwe Republic Police. 

A number of projects that include construction of houses and school blocks and the financing of a soap making company in the camp are among support initiatives to improve the welfare of refugees.

The World Refugee Day commemorations are held on the 20th of June every year and this year, they were running under the theme; “We Stand Together With Refugees”.