Humanitarian situation in Angola: Reporting period 03 to 16 Jan 2000

Situation Report
Originally published
Humanitarian catastrophe avoided in 1999

Expected increase in humanitarian needs as more people are becoming accessible to relief operators with the extension of State Administration

UN team assesses security conditions in Cangandala

Key visitors to Angola

The Chairman of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on Angola, Canadian Ambassador Robert Fowler, visited Angola from 8 to 15 January during which he travelled to Andulo, former Headquarter of UNITA, and met with senior government officials.

The Portuguese Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaime Gama, visited the country from 13 to 15 January and promised to focus on co-operation between Angola and the European Union during the Portugal's EU Presidency.

Reported in the Press

On 13 January, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, urged the Security Council to act more decisively to stop wars, which are exacerbating the plight of refugees in Africa. She said the situation was most critical in seven countries including Angola where external flow of Angolans to neighbouring countries has increased. The High Commissioner who was addressing the second Security Council meeting on the subject of "Promoting Peace and Security: Humanitarian Assistance to Refugees in Africa", expressed particular concern about assisting the increasing numbers of IDPs, who, unlike refugees, have not crossed international borders.

Thousands of Angolan fleeing the war are pouring into Zambia. The UNHCR said that 7,547 refugees had crossed the Zambian border in the districts of Sinjembela and Imusho, bringing the total arrivals since October to 20,926. There are more than 200,000 refugees in Zambia, of whom at least 160,000 are Angolans. According to UNHCR, the number of Angolan refugees in Namibia has increased to 9,000.

Review of the 1999 Humanitarian Activities

Despite numerous constraints related to the lack of security conditions and access to all populations in need of assistance, and thanks to the co-operation between donors, Government, UN agencies and relief organisations, a potential humanitarian catastrophe was successfully avoided in Angola. This main humanitarian achievement in 1999 can be briefly summarised as follows:

  • More than 140,000 Mts of food aid were delivered feeding a monthly average of approximately 550,000 persons, mostly new IDPs.
  • 180,000 families have received seeds and tools for the September/October planting season while during the May/June planting season 100,000 families received the same inputs.
  • The Government has distributed land, where possible, to approximately 80,000 IDP families.
  • UCAH's Emergency Response Fund has supported 52 interventions with an amount of US$ 2,886,177 targeting mostly recent IDPs and affected resident populations.
  • In April and May, a major outbreak of polio was brought under control in Luanda and Benguela with the vaccination of 934,000 children.
  • Iodized salt production has increased from 42,000 Mts to 78,000 Mts.
  • Co-ordination of nutrition programmes has been enhanced through a number of seminars on nutritional standards, particularly for feeding centres and surveys.
  • The movement of humanitarian personnel was facilitated by WFP passenger air services with over 21,000 passengers transported between January and November.
  • Donor community responded positively to the 1999 UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal with 85% of the requirements.
General Humanitarian Situation and Assistance

Some areas where relief operators were forced to withdraw due to instability are now reportedly accessible to security assessment missions, underway since 12 January. These missions will evaluate the humanitarian situation and the needs for emergency assistance, as well as the security conditions for humanitarian personnel.

The first mission took place on 13 January in Cangandala, Malange Province. The joint UN team found that agricultural activities were not affected and determined that no food assistance is required at this time. According to the Municipal Administration based in Malange City, there are 10,197 IDPs from the municipalities of Lukembo and Kambundi Katembo and villages into Cangandala Municipality. These IDPs have built their houses on the periphery of Cangandala town and in villages near Kwanza River and are integrated in the local agricultural activities. The mission concluded that there is a need of assistance in terms of non-food items (soap, clothes, seeds and tools) and in the area of health, water and sanitation. Relief organisations operating in Malange will undertake another assessment mission to determine humanitarian interventions. Security conditions in Cangandala are favourable for humanitarian operations but on a seesaw basis from Malange City until the extension of State Administration.

Provincial Updates

Following reports on Coporolo River floods in Benguela Province, on 11 and 13 January a joint WFP/UNICEF/UCAH/OKUTIUKA mission visited Dombe Grande area where agricultural fields and villages in Senje and Luacho were affected. Humanitarian partners and the local authorities have already taken measures to distribute food aid and survival items and to reinforce health assistance in terms of vaccination awareness campaigns. Floods have been also reported in Hanja Primaria, 27 km from Chongoroi town. According to the local authorities, 6,802 persons live in Hanja but the affected area is no longer accessible from Chongoroi town.

In Uíge Province, some return movements of IDPs were reported from Negage and Uíge towns to Puri, Sanza Pombo and Songo. Due these movements, relief partners are reviewing the figures of IDPs. As the malnutrition rates continue to increase among children attending therapeutic feeding centres, it was agreed to include their families in the general food distribution. CIC is already running its feeding centre at Uíge Hospital where more than 150 children are assisted. Danish Refugee Council is to distribute seeds of maize and beans for the February planting season.

According to WFP, the preliminary results of two nutritional surveys carried out by MSF-B, ICRC and MINSA from 24 to 29 December 1999 in Kuito, Bié Province, indicate that severe malnutrition rates among IDPs decreased from 2.4% (in October) to 0.6%. The results also show a prevalence of 5.5% of global malnutrition among resident population and 10.9% among IDPs. Apart from assessing nutritional status, these surveys are also used to monitor the Pellagra epidemic. While Pellagra is under control, dried fish will continue to be included in WFP rations to ensure that the epidemic does not return on a large scale.

WFP expects to distribute in January 15,490 Mts of food aid to 1,142,987 beneficiaries all over the country with the largest distribution planned for Malange (2,824 Mts) followed by Bié (2,697 Mts) and Huambo (1,178 Mts).

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