Angola: WFP warns of shortages

JOHANNESBURG, 30 March (IRIN) - WFP in Angola has warned that without substantial new donor pledges, the UN food agency's relief programme could face serious difficulties from July.
"Serious pipeline breaks are foreseen from July for most commodities if large contributions are not confirmed. As per the present pipeline forecast, the total shortfalls from March to August are expected to amount to 8,036 mt," a WFP report released on Wednesday said.

Funding for WFP's Angola appeal is currently US $65 million against the US $158 million requested, or 41 percent of total requirements. In addition, the number of beneficiaries has now been revised upwards from 1.1 million to 1.5 million.

A new "resourcing proposal" based on the projections for the level of assistance for the rest of the year is to be presented to WFP's Executive Board in May for approval, the report said.

Meanwhile, WFP said the security situation in Angola remains tense, particularly for humanitarian personnel working in newly opened areas. A WFP staffer Benjamin Liberdale was critically injured in a landmine accident last week in Cuvelai, Cunene Province. The demining agency MAG is to begin operations in Cuvelai and Chamutete municipalities, and humanitarian assistance in the two areas has been halted until demining has been completed.

WFP has decided to provide general food distribution, with a focus on the displaced population, in the central highland city of Huambo. The agency said the nutritional situation in Huambo is "still of concern", despite the assistance provided by WFP and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

An ICRC update said that following a survey of nutritional needs, aid for displaced persons housed in five centres at Caala, seven km from Huambo, was increased last week. Some 2,800 displaced families (12,700 persons), to whom half rations had been distributed every month since July 1999, are now receiving full rations consisting of maize, dried beans, oil and salt. Food aid for the displaced at Caala will be maintained until they are able to return home, ICRC said.

In Kuito, 130 km to the northeast, the city's airport remains out of operation due to repair work. WFP has started using road transport, "but there are still problems of capacity due to bridge access limitations." The report said that a break in supplies would mean increased food insecurity "at a time when WFP had planned to augment its general rations", and to consider the resident population in the general distribution.


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