Following the recent incursions into Mozambique by Rhodesian forces, world attention has again been focused on the plight of refugees.
Following the recent incursions into Mozambique by Rhodesian forces, world attention has again been focused on the plight of refugees. Rhodesia claims the refugee camps in Mozambique harbour guerrillas opposed to the Smith regime. The official death toll in the raids has been put at 1,200 but black nationalist leaders like Bishop Abel Muzorewa say the figure is closer to 2,700. Bishop Muzorewa also has said the camps contain only people who have fled from Rhodesia-refugees not soldiers. It's thought that as many as 25,000 black Rhodesians are living in various settlements in Mozambique and the largest of these is the Deroy camp, where life is hard; hampered by a lack of food, education facilities and medical care.
SYNOPSIS: The Deroy camp was set up after the summer of 1975 when thousands of people fled from Rhodesia. Now it's estimated that 10,000 refugees live here.
Food is a constant problem-there is just not enough to go around. What supplies they do get come from Frelimo, the revolutionary military wing of the government which was instrumental in securing Mozambique's independence from Portugal in 1975. Camp organiser Joseph Chimorengo explained the situation to Yugoslav reporter, Zvonko Zmazek:
According to Chimorengo there is at the most one meal a day and kitchen facilities are so limited that it takes six hours to prepare. Black nationalist leader Bishop Muzorewa says these are the kind of people who were attacked by the Rhodesian forces: women and children, not the guerrillas who Rhodesia says live in camps like Deroy. But there are other problems, like water.
The bad living conditions contribute to disease: malaria, dysentery, diarrhoea are common and there is a special problem caused by fleas.
The problems for these children do not end at insufficient food, water or medical care. There is also the lack of educational equipment. When this film was taken there were just 100 exercise books for about 1,900 young refugees. For the most part the children have to learn by chanting and singing.