ANGOLA: UCAH Information Bulletin 23-29 July [19990804]

ANGOLA: UCAH Information Bulletin 23-29 July [19990804]


Reporting period: 23 to 29 July 1999

The humanitarian situation in Malange can be described as a disaster. Thousand of children and elderly people are starving and desperately in need of humanitarian assistance. Assistance is being delivered but the authorities must ensure that food aid reaches the beneficiaries and the safety of relief workers and assets is guaranteed.

General Situation

During the reporting period, the security situation in the country has not improved with several incidents being reported. The lack of access by road remains a serious concern. An ADRA-I's truck was ambushed on 26 July between Malange and Cacuso resulting in casualties including four children killed. As a result of an attack on vehicles registered on 22 July, the road Gabela-Sumbe, in Kwanza Sul, is once again insecure for humanitarian operators.

The UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator, Mr. Francesco Strippoli, travelled to Malange on 28 July to assess with the local authorities the tragic humanitarian situation and to pave the way for urgent humanitarian assistance. During his meeting with the Provincial Governor, Mr. Strippoli, also Director of UCAH and WFP, highlighted the need of security for relief workers and assets to avoid the diversion of humanitarian items, as well as the supply of fuel for relief activities. The Humanitarian Co-ordinator also visited child feeding centres, IDPs and feeding centres for elderly people.

In a Statement by the Presidency on 27 July, the European Union expressed its deep concern given the "dramatic increase of refugees and displaced persons" as a result of the resumption of hostilities in Angola. The EU reiterated its appeal to the Government and UNITA in order "to respect human rights and collaborate with humanitarian organisations in the distribution of emergency humanitarian aid, guaranteeing the safety and free movement of humanitarian personnel, as well as the access to affected populations." According to the statement, the EU will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the victims of the conflict and to support demining activities.

On 25 July, the Catholic Bishops of Angola issued a pastoral message in which they stated that besides killing Angolans indiscriminately, the war is also destroying the means for their survival such as crops thus causing hunger that "daily leads to grave only God knows how many innocent lives". The message considers that combating undefended people, shelling civilian targets, ambushing unarmed vehicles and people, are an act of coward banditry and not an act of war. Regarding the current humanitarian situation in the country, the Bishops of Angola renewed their appeal to the donors for their continued support and highlighted the urgent and absolute need of corridors of peace to bring humanitarian assistance to all the Angolans who need it.

Humanitarian Situation and Assistance

The findings of an assessment mission to Malange are only confirming that the humanitarian situation in Angola continues to worsen. Meanwhile, WFP informed that its pipeline is gradually improving and food distributions in the next few months are expected to rise slightly from the level of 6,700 MT in July to approximately 12,000 MT per month thanks to pledges and donations from the donors. During the period under review, WFP received 5,000 MT of maize and further shipments of pulses and maize are expected shortly.

A joint UN/NGOs assessment mission carried out from 21 to 24 July confirmed the tragic humanitarian situation in Malange where children and the elderly are starving and the nutritional status of the population is very critical. Preliminary results of a nutritional survey carried out by MINSA in June indicate an average of 15% severe cases and 25% global cases of malnutrition among IDPs and residents. The mission concluded that there is a serious shortage of food in Malange. The last food distributions took place in early June. The number of patients at the nutritional rehabilitation centre of the Provincial Hospital with 84 children has increased in three times since the last food distributions. On agricultural sector, manioc crops have been lost and there are no seeds for the next campaign.

During a follow-up meeting held at UCAH in Luanda on 27 July, the humanitarian partners analysed the current humanitarian situation in Malange and set up the strategy for an urgent intervention. For this purpose, implementing NGOs are already sending their staff back to Malange. Priority has been given to nutritional projects in order to save lives and people at risk. WFP has already delivered to Malange 245 MT of food aid for nutritional programmes and expects to duplicate this supply next week. WFP will also support as priority PICs, community kitchens, orphan's centres and agricultural projects. UNICEF with its implementing partners will focus on activities related to nutrition, vaccination campaigns, water and sanitation and mine awareness projects. Many other relief partners such as ICRC, MSF-H, WVI, OIKOS, GVC, NPA (demining), ADRA-A, ADRA-I, ADAC, CONCERN, will also participate in this emergency response to the current tragic humanitarian situation in Malange. Malange City was shelled on 28 July.

In Huambo, the relief organisations operating in the province have decided to open more nutritional centres, community kitchens and PICs during the next days to address the needs of malnourished children. During a meeting held on 26 July, they decided to open three new nutritional centres in the areas of São Luís and CFB, in Huambo City, and in Caála town. Three new PICs in the bairros of Benfica, Cacilhas and São Luís, in Huambo City, and two new community kitchens in Chivela/São Pedro and Cangote/Caála will be established. During the meeting, UCAH praised the courageous humanitarian work carried out by the relief operators in Huambo under serious risks including shelling.

In Bié Province, mine incidents continue to be registered with casualties. On 23 July, a civilian truck hit an AT mine while leaving a local market on the road between Catabola and Kuito causing 11 deaths and 15 wounded. This insecure situation is preventing people from supplying Kuito with fresh products by road. Handicap International has started mine awareness training for 30 IDPs and resident women. The number of children at the therapeutic feeding centre has decreased standing now at an average of 350 children. However, the number of children at the supplementary feeding centre has increased to 1,900 persons per week.

On 21 July, thirty-two remaining trucks of the road convoy that was attacked on 16 July between Lucala and Samba Cajú, arrived severely depleted in Uíge. Other vehicles reached their destinations in Negage, Samba Cajú and Camabatela while 35 trucks were burned. The arrival of these trucks brought some commodities but prices remain high, as the quantities were insufficient due to the losses during the attack. UNICEF's water and sanitation activities in Uíge were affected following the loss of supplies in the attacked convoy. MINARS, Ibis and the Catholic Church also lost materials for their projects.

In Benguela Province, a reported number of 4,161 new IDPs arrived in Ganda town fleeing fighting in the areas of Dende, Tendamoko and Akarangolo. UNICEF has started a new initiative to increase its support to IDPs in terms of relief and survival items provided by NORAD. A field visit was carried out this week in Benguela to plan the activities with the local authorities.

In the framework of land distributions to IDPs, an inter-agency commission has been established in Huila Province. Relevant Government institutions and humanitarian organisations are involved in identifying land and supporting the resettlement of the beneficiaries through food and non-food aid supplies. To date, 730 IDP families have benefited land to cultivate. WFP is to purchase 1,000 MT of locally-produced maize to stimulate local production.

On 26 July, INTERSOS reported the robbery of water facilities (water-pump, a 5,000 litter plastic tank and 50 meters of pipe) at the Cambambe II IDP camp in Caxito, Bengo Province. Consequently, the NGO withdrew the remaining materials of its emergency assistance project in Cambambe II.

Rectification: In the first paragraph, page two, of our last report (16-22 July), instead of "A total of 21,000 MT", it should be read "a total of 2,100 MT" of food have arrived in the country during the reporting period.


Item: irin-extra-187

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

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