UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN ANGOLA
Reporting period: 09 to 15 July 1999
The international humanitarian community now fears the worst for the Angolan people, considering the distressing conditions in which thousands of civilians are plunged while fleeing from shelling, harassment and looted or mined crops. In an effort to address the consequences of the current state of affairs and to highlight the Angolan humanitarian emergency needs, a ECOSOC meeting in Geneva gave floor to discussions on the Angolan dramatic crisis. On its side, the Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers of Angola approved on 15 July an "Emergency Strategy" to address the needs of displaced populations.
Meanwhile, in Huambo City, where shelling impeded humanitarian deliveries for a long period, there are already clear evidences of malnutrition among the population, and the daily life of every single citizen is being seriously affected. Some residents reaching the different paediatric and feeding centres spread in some neighbourhoods inside or in the vicinities of the town arrive just in time not to die. Humanitarian workers providing emergency assistance have witnessed with despair that some of these people were carrying their babies who happened to die upon arrival or on the way to the centres. Humanitarian food supplies are meagre and only reaching the most vulnerable who succeed to go to the nutritional centres supported by the international community through NGOs or religious organisations.
As stated in previous humanitarian reports, the current economic and social situation in Angola with the recently adopted monetary measures is also impacting the living conditions of the most people. Prices of goods are rising quite daily as the local currency is being devaluated day after day thus further aggravating the social situation.
At the launching ceremony of the 1999 Human Development Report on 12 July in Luanda, the UNDP Resident Representative, a.i., Mr. Alieu Sallah, explained that "Angola fell to the 160 rank from 156 last year". He also said "Angola fares worse than the rest of the world even when compared to countries with low human development". Angola infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births stands at 170 while the low human development is 106, and under-five mortality rate per 1,000 live births stands at 292 against 169 of the low human development.
Humanitarian Situation and Assistance
During the period under review, the humanitarian situation continued to worsen broadening the rate of more people in need, including resident and displaced populations. The ongoing instability and the shortage of available resources continue to hinder the humanitarian assistance activities, limiting these ones to restricted accessible areas and to a small number of beneficiaries. In order to have food stocks until September, WFP is carrying food distributions at a level of approximately 60% of the estimated needs. In the meantime, a quantity of 3,000 MT of maize arrived last week at Namibe port.
WFP flights to Huambo were temporarily suspended following shelling of the town on 11 July, and resumed on 13 July. The already serious nutritional situation is further aggravated by the three-week closure of the airport, the only way to supply this besieged town. A supplementary feeding centre for 600 children run by SCF-UK with WFP support started running last week.
Humanitarian actors together with local health authorities started a nutritional survey in Kuito, Bié Province, on 10 July, and results will be disclosed early next week. During this five-day survey, humanitarian operators have noticed some cases of scabies and contacts are underway in order to have regular provisions of soap distributed to the IDP community. Seeds and tools have been distributed to IDPs. Katabola is now under governmental control, (some wild fruits from this locality commenced to reach Kuito) but there is no free movement yet as the road has been re-mined. Kuito itself is still facing the problem of mines and UXOs. For instance, three children were killed and other three were injured while playing with an unused anti-aircraft shell that exploded. On 15 July another incident occurred in Kunje when an AP mine killed a child. As both incidents involved only resident children, CARE International is already considering extending mine awareness activities to the resident community.
On 10 July, for the first time after a long period, a joint UCAH/WFP/MINARS assessment mission travelled to the town of Songo, in Uíge Province. The mission noted signals of malnutrition among children, even though this phenomenon should not be because of lack of food but due to an inadequate food diet, since Songo is a primary breadbasket for Uíge City. People started to return to the neighbourhoods but civil servants living in the town centre have not yet returned. The local hospital has been totally looted. At the catholic mission, the sisters are running a rudimentary emergency health post with basic drugs from MINSA, UNICEF and Caritas. On 14 July, UCAH and CIC carried out another visit to Songo and observed that the roof of one of the two schools constructed by Danish Refugee Council disappeared. It was recommended that although general food distributions are unnecessary, specific non-food items (blankets, used clothes, soap, tools and seeds) should be distributed.
Also in Uíge, a feeding centre for 150 children operated by Sisters of "Divino Pastor" was inaugurated on 10 July in Papelão bairro in Uíge City, assisted with WFP food aid. UNICEF and DRC distributed non-food items to 5,300 IDPs from Bungo concentrated in Uíge while CVA (Angolan Red Cross) opened, with DRC support, a health post at Calumbo village, between Uíge and Negage. CIC restarted monitoring the nutritional situation among children at the provincial hospital, with ECHO renewed support. Food prices have risen sharply in Uíge because the town has not been receiving commercial road convoys from Luanda since 1 June.
According to Caritas delegation in Mbanza Congo, Zaire Province, 12,710 people currently living in Noqui municipality need humanitarian assistance. Caritas is therefore considering to carry out an assessment mission to this locality.
The security situation has remained stationary in Luena, Moxico Province. However, sporadic harassment and ambushes have continued. As a result, over the last ten days, an additional number of IDPs arrived in Luena. A commission for Reinstalation and Land Distribution to IDPs has been established. WFP, LWF and SCF-Us together with MINADER and MINARS are working on issues related to the distribution of land to 27,268 displaced families. Relevant humanitarian actors started to address the nutritional situation in order to increase the number of community kitchens and PICs in Luena City, where residents are facing insecurity in terms of food assistance. MSF-B plans to carry out a nutritional survey in August. For the current month, humanitarian partners have identified 40,557 IDPs living in camps and needing food assistance. The local Government is requesting distribution of food package to displaced families deciding to return to their villages of origin. However, the resources are scarce and the lack of security and the presence of mines in the areas of origin are further delaying such an operation.
On 13 July, the NGO MOLISV started the implementation of the emergency humanitarian assistance for IDPs in Kuito Kuanavale, Kuando Kubango Province. ACF based in Menongue will regularly carry out the monitoring of health situation in Kuito Kuanavale.
A joint UCAH/WFP/ECHO mission was carried out on 7 and 8 July to N'Zaji and Dundo, in Lunda Norte Province, to evaluate a health project operated by IMC with UCAH and ECHO support. The mission noted that 90% of the planned activities were implemented and did not found any emergency situation in the province comparatively with other ones. At the follow-up meeting held in Luanda on 13 July, it has been recommended that Caritas could reactivate the health posts rehabilitated by IMC with the involvement of health personnel previously trained by this international NGO.
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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