ANGOLA: UCAH Information Bulletin 28 May-3 June [19990607]

ANGOLA: UCAH Information Bulletin 28 May-3 June [19990607]

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E-Mail: Luanda - Angola


Reporting period: 28 May to 3 June 1999

General Situation

The general situation in the country has remained the same as referred to in previous reports with increased skirmishes in the West and South-west of Uige Province and in the Central Highlands, mainly around Huambo. As the level of insecurity continues to be high, access of humanitarian partners to populations in need and the execution of proper assessments remains a fundamental obstacle in measuring the real dimension of the humanitarian needs in the country.

With the tremendous increase in the number of people in need and the progressive erosion of the capacity of social infrastructures to cope with increased needs, humanitarian assistance programmes are now being designed with the view to addressing the needs of the vulnerable populations and concentrating less on the status of IDPs.

The recent withdrawing of INAROEE (the National Institute responsible for demining) brigades from Lunda Sul and Malange, and the virtual interruption of INAROEE activities across the country further endangers the difficult circumstances in which civilians live. Presently, the only institutions performing demining activities are NGOs. Norwegian People's Aid, one of the largest demining NGOs in the country, recently expressed its disappointment at the current conditions of work and at the lack of response from donors regarding funding needs for these operations. More people seeking refuge in besieged government held cities are being maimed or killed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and shells lying about. NPA confirmed that survey teams have identified locations in Luena (some 800 km southeast of Luanda), Malanje (350 km east of Luanda) and Huambo and Kuito in the Central Highlands where remining has been confirmed. NPA stated that there is a great need now for demining expertise to support road safety checking for humanitarian supplies; to clear resettlement areas for displaced people; to demine farming land; to mark minefields so that IDPs are not caught unawares; to keep the landmine database constantly up to date; to clear UXOs in the IDP-crammed provincial towns and cities; maintain mine awareness programmes and also support the humanitarian effort with non-food emergency supplies.

The Angolan Government continued its diplomatic efforts to obtain more international support and to isolate military UNITA. The Foreign Minister of Brazil came to Angola during the reporting period. Also, press reports referred to the visit to Luanda of a delegation from the Organisation of African Unity to "assess the humanitarian situation in Angola". No meeting with UCAH took place.

Humanitarian Situation and Assistance

Following up on the needs assessment mission to Kuando Kubango, UN Agencies and implementing NGOs met last week and analysed the most immediate needs of these people. The implementing partners have already been found and it has been agreed that two NGOs (MOLISV and ACF-Spain) will distribute food and non-food items from WFP and ECHO/European Union stocks for two months. In the meantime, the Government is expected to make available sufficient arable land for a significant number of these IDPs. This would allow international partners to launch, after these initial two months of emergency distribution, food-for-work projects aiming not only at the long term self-sufficiency of the new-comers but also at ameliorating the overall food intake of the resident population.

Simultaneously, with UNICEF support, a massive vaccination campaign will soon be undertaken in Kuando Kubango targeting the whole population (residents and IDPs). This humanitarian response, sponsored through the Emergency Response Fund of UCAH and ECHO funds is expected to be accomplished in a six-month period. Health and sanitation assistance projects will also be included in the overall response to this emergency.

In Moxico, some agricultural activities are still taking place in a corridor going up to Dala River at about 25km to the south. However, the host communities are presumably already facing the same problems of the displaced communities, as children from the residents are reporting at the nutritional feeding centres in equal proportion with the IDPs ones. Therefore, efforts are being made in order to develop food assistance activities targeting every vulnerable children independently of their being IDP or resident, through the increase of PICs and the opening of community kitchen. Several new mines found within and just outside the capital have forced humanitarian organisations staff to limit their activities to a radius of 5 km from the city. Shortages of fuel are also hindering humanitarian activities.

Discussions are under way between Moxico provincial MINADER (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) and NGOs for the preparation of the next agricultural campaign. However, a major concern persists due to the fact that despite there being sufficient land presumed available, little has been done so far to identify it and distribute it to the needy families.

In UÌge province, some population arriving in the capital over the weekend reported that UNITA attacked and occupied AmbuÌla on 27 or 28 May. Road insecurity continues to be a hindrance but humanitarian assistance activities continue. UNICEF formulated an action plan for the Vaccination of Measles Plus, to be soon implemented simultaneously with the National Polio Vaccination Days in the municipalities of UÌge and Negage. An Australian supported project implemented by UNICEF is rehabilitating three health posts in Kiongua, Kimanga and Kimakungo, in UÌge municipality, and the NGO Christian Children's Fund is rehabilitating Dunga Primary School with construction tools provided by UNICEF. Some humanitarian activities have also continued in MYenbanza Congo, Zaire province.

In Malange, a joint humanitarian agency mission scheduled for 30 May was cancelled due to insufficient security guarantees. Owing to the rising insecurity on the road between Luanda and Malange, WFP has been unable to supply its base with food stocks over the reporting period. Therefore, and continuing the prioritisation of the most vulnerable among all those in need, humanitarian partners are delivering assistance only to children, pregnant women, old people, disabled and sick.

On 29 May, in Cunene province, an official ceremony attended by Angolan Ministers and the Ambassadors of Germany, Netherlands and Sweden marked the inauguration of two bridges over Cuvelai River (Cuvelai municipality); both reconstructed through a WFP demining/road construction project. The implementing partners were the NGO Santa Barbara (demining activities) and SWEDRELIEF (construction works). These bridges will facilitate the access of humanitarian assistance to the areas in the north of Cunene province, and will be essential in increasing social services and market exchanges.

A commercial supply convoy carrying WFP food arrived in Ganda despite the lack of security conditions in the roads. At the time of conclusion of the current report, in the same province, a mission organised by UCAH and with the presence of humanitarian partners was carried out to Dombe Grande to assess the availability of agriculture land for IDPs.

The security situation around Huambo City is slightly deteriorating and the access of humanitarian partners continues to be limited to a range of 15-20 km from the centre of the city and to Caala.

WFP is planning to implement a school canteen inside an IDP camp as a pilot project aiming at job opportunities for IDP women. As IDPs in S"o Pedro camp have already two nutrition centres and regular food distributions, discussions are underway to identify some other IDP camp, such as S"o JosÈ or Benfica, where IDPs are not receiving any food assistance and where no nutrition centres exist. ICRC is making an assessment of the population in Huambo municipality by registering residents of communes and villages.

The project of multiplication and improvement of seeds funded by the Emergency Response Fund of UCAH and implemented at Chianga by the NGO Instituto MarquÍs de Valle FlÙr achieved its goals. The local authorities recommended UCAH to find further funds for the next project to allow the mentioned NGO to continue to assist to the local production of quality seeds.

Agricultural Campaign Programme 1999/2000

The recently approved national programme for the Agricultural Campaign 1999/2000 clearly states that the prevailing instability situation has been affecting rural activities, mainly in the north, central highlands, east and south-eastern regions. Therefore, in order to urgently guarantee basic food intake to the population and to help generate self-sufficiency to one million persons, the Angolan Government monitored agricultural activities will concentrate in more stable and secure zones under the State administration. Such is the case of the littoral strip and some parts of the north, centre and south of the country.

Item: irin-extra-177

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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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