United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has donated personal protective equipment (PPE), refugee housing units and computers to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services.
The UN refugee agency made the donation at the Regional Immigration Office in Lilongwe earlier this week.
The aim of the donation is to assist Government of Malawi in its efforts to properly receive returnees, identify those most in need and ensure that their specific vulnerabilities are taken care of and at the same time ensuring that all frontline staff involved in the program are protected from contracting COVID-19.
Speaking after the donation ceremony, UNHCR representative Fatima Mohammed-Cole said the donated computers will assist the officers to collect data and share the same to all stakeholders.
Mohammed added that the donation follows UNHCR and Ministry of Homeland Security’s joint field mission to Blantyre in early May 2020 which was aimed at assessing and identifying needs as well as provide guidance in collecting data on Returnees.
“Apart from the printers, computers and housing units, the donation also includes gumboots, face masks and gloves which are very critical for frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19,” she said.
In his remarks after receiving the donation, Director General of Immigration and Citizenship Services Dr. Masauko Medi commended UNHCR for the timely donation and also appealed for an integrated approach in management of refugees in the country.
According to the Immigration’s Director General, the department is one of the government institutions affected by COVID-19 with a total of 43 of its officers across the country testing positive to COVID-19.
However, 31 of these officers have since recovered and the remaining 12 active cases have mild symptoms. Only one officer has shown serious symptoms.