Humanitarian Situation in Angola - reporting period: 1 - 15 Sep 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
Critical Issues
  • Fourteen deminers were injured when an anti-tank mine exploded on the Cambaxe - Malanje road in Malanje Municipality.

  • A meningitis outbreak has been confirmed in Huíla Province and a significant number of cases have been reported in Malanje Province.

  • Due to the start of the rainy season, humanitarian partners were not able to transport more seeds and tool kits to the interior of Kuanza Sul Province.

  • A donation of seeds and tools for 8,000 beneficiaries in Lunda Sul was cancelled due to lack of a partner to carry out the distribution.

  • Most of the seeds and tools for distribution in Moxico Province have yet to arrive.
Provincial Update

Luanda Province: The Provincial Government transported 2,030 people to Malanje. They are staying in the Katepa transit centre where they are sleeping in the open air and have no access to food, water, sanitation and health assistance. According to provincial authorities, one person died on arrival and no transportation is available for onward travel to areas of origin.

Benguela Province: During the reporting period, local authorities closed the Benguela transit centre located in a former military quartering camp and moved the 250 people to the new Capiandalo transit centre approximately five km outside the city centre. An additional 108 demobilised soldiers and their dependents arrived from the former Menga gathering area in Huambo and humanitarian partners report that the people in the new camp are living in substandard conditions.

The provincial administration confirmed that between January and August this year, 17,500 people arrived in Chicuma commune, Ganda Municipality, the majority from Huíla Province. Chicuma has been inaccessible to humanitarian partners due to broken bridges and suspected mine infestation and the populations living there lack food, non-food items and medicines. Humanitarian partners plan to begin operations pending verification of the roads.

Humanitarian partners report that lack of seeds and tools in locations throughout the province could compromise the upcoming planting season. Shortfalls have been reported in the following areas: 1500 returnees in Yambala; 2,000 families in Barbera commune; and seeds and tools for only 50 families in Cayvi commune.

Bié Province: The Kuito - Camacupa road was closed to humanitarian partners after the Chubby demining system detected three mines while verifying the road. An anti-personnel mine was found on 12 September 0.5 km before Chitepa and two more were found two km after Chitepa on 15 September. Demining partners expected to be able to finish clearing the Kuito - Catabola stretch within five days after the incident and another five to seven days to clear the Catabola - Camacupa stretch.

Huambo Province: Approximately half of the 300,000 families who require seeds and tools for the upcoming agricultural campaign will receive inputs from humanitarian partners. Partners estimate 80 percent of the seeds and tools that will be distributed to 164,000 families are already in stock in warehouses in the province. The government is expected to provide for the remaining beneficiaries.

Humanitarian partners operating nutrition centres in Huambo report that admissions continue to decrease and most centres will be transferred to the Ministry of Health by the end of the year. However, admissions are expected to rise again during the lean season between October and April.

Two key bridges were reconstructed during the reporting period: A new aluminium bridge over the River Cusso, a few kilometres north of Bailundo, can bear trucks up to 40 tons and will relieve the bottlenecks in humanitarian assistance for the communes of Luvemba, Bimbe and Hengue, areas where significant distributions for the 2003-2004 agricultural campaign are planned. The bridge over the River Salundo, north of Catabola in Longonjo Municipality, which had been washed away during the last rainy season, was also repaired, allowing access to about 55,000 people who had been isolated from direct assistance.

The Mungo - Cambuengo road was declared safe for humanitarian partners after demining partners verified it with the Chubby in August.

Critical needs are suspected in isolated locations in the municipalities of Caala, Londuimbali, Ekunha, Longonjo, Bailundo, and Mungo. Vaccination teams have been unable to reach populations in these areas. Information on the needs has been collected from NGOs who walk or bike on paths to the areas.

Huíla Province: A meningitis outbreak has been confirmed in Lubango and Matala Municipalities. During the reporting period, 23 cases and five deaths were confirmed in Matala, bringing the total number of cases confirmed to 53 and the total deaths to 15 in the two municipalities since July. Additional cases are suspected but not confirmed in Chipindo and Caconda. Provincial health authorities have intensified the immunisation campaign throughout Lubango and Matala and requested additional anti-meningitis vaccines and medicines from MINSA's Emergency Essential Drugs Programme in Luanda.

Five children were killed when a military storeroom near the Lubango airport caught fire and exploded.

Demining partners report that more than 1100 sq metres of land and almost 2,200 km of road have been cleared in Chipindo, Chicomba and Matala. During the demining operations three anti-personnel mines and 451 UXO were found and destroyed and almost 5,000 people received mine awareness training.

Kuando Kubango Province: There are now approximately 350 people awaiting transportation at Menongue airport, most of whom will go to Benguela Province.

According to provincial authorities, the transportation of demobilised soldiers and their families from Mavinga has concluded and the Mavinga transit centre is now officially closed. Approximately 2,000 demobilised soldiers and dependents have decided to resettle the bairros of Mavinga.

A child in Missombo was killed when a UXO was accidentally thrown into a fire.

Kuanza Norte Province: Humanitarian partners will distribute approximately 6,000 agriculture kits to families in Ambaca and Cambambe Municipalities and another 5,000 kits in Samba Caju Municipality. However, due to logistical constraints and lack of implementing partners, Banga, Quiculungo and Ngonguembo Municipalities will not be covered in the seeds and tools distribution campaign.

During the first two weeks of September, approximately 5,000 persons arrived in the province from Luanda. The majority of them have been transported onwards to their areas of origin.

Kuanza Sul Province: Roughly 16,000 demobilised soldiers and their dependents have decided to resettle in Cruzamento and Menga locations in Pambangala. Including the new arrivals, the population in the area has increased by over 30,000 people in the last three weeks. Although food assistance will be available for the month of September, there is virtually no primary health care. Roughly 3,200 people from the former gathering areas in Huambo also arrived in Cruzamento and have started rebuilding their homes and are receiving food assistance from humanitarian partners. Local administrators expressed concern that the lack of essential drugs and vaccination coverage combined with the increase in population could lead to the outbreak of epidemics.

Mine infestation has hampered the rehabilitation of bridges over the Longo and Ganor Rivers along the main road which connects Quibala with Mussende Municipality. Demining partners report that 22 anti-tank mines were removed from 22 kilometres of road. Reconstruction of the bridge over the Pombuije River is complete. In the last month, 28 anti-tank mines were removed in the area surrounding the bridge.

Humanitarian access has continued to expand in the province. Following the most recent security assessment of the area connecting the municipal capital of Quibala with the Caiango district, the only inaccessible areas are Atome, Kassongue Municipality, Botera, Seles Municipality, and Lohne in Quibala Municipality, and Quienha, Mussende Municipality due to poor road conditions. Approximately 20,000 - 25,000 persons are inaccessible to humanitarian partners.

However, due to the start of the rainy season, humanitarian partners were not able to transport more seeds and tool kits to the interior of the province. Conditions of the dirt roads connecting Kassongue, Mussende, Ebo and Cela municipal capitals and rural areas are expected to deteriorate further with the arrival of the seasonal rains, with potentially serious repercussions on the agricultural campaign.

Lunda Sul Province: The Saurimo - Dala road was closed after an anti-tank mine was found 28 km from Saurimo close to Nanguanza community on 10 September. Deminers destroyed the mine but the road is closed to humanitarian operations pending verification. The Saurima - Dala - Luena road is the most direct route to the Luena airport which humanitarian partners in Lunda Sul rely upon for supplies.

Vaccination teams were unable to immunise children against poliomyelitis in the inaccessible areas of Xassengue, Cucumbi, Chiluage, Cabo and Cassai Sul. As of the end of August, more than 66,300 children had been vaccinated during the first two stages of the vaccination campaign.

According to provincial authorities, in July and August, roughly 300 refugees spontaneously returned to Saurimo from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. Local administrators in Sombo (Saurimo Municipality), Cazoa (Dala Municipality), and Alto Chicapa (Cacolo Municipality), report that previously displaced families are returning to these areas now that humanitarian assistance is available.

Humanitarian partners expect to distribute seeds and tools for approximately 9,400 families. However, UN partners report that they were compelled to cancel a seeds and tools distribution for 8,000 beneficiaries in Lunda Sul due to lack of an implementing partner.

A report recently released by Provincial health authorities demonstrated that during the first six months of 2003, 18,760 people received medical attention, of which 63 percent were children. The gross mortality rate is 4.1 deaths per 1,000 persons per day with nearly 42 percent caused by malaria followed by anaemia and diarrhoeal diseases.

Government and humanitarian partners are working together to implement a project in Saurimo town to improve the drinking water supply and quality.

Malanje Province: Fourteen demining engineers were injured when the truck they were travelling in detonated an AT mine 40 cm off the Malanje - Cambaxe road. Nine of the injured deminers were evacuated to Luanda for medical treatment. There were 36 passengers in the truck at the time of the accident. The demining operation of Cambaxe road has been on-going since 4 August in order to open access to Mufuma Commune and Kwaba Nzoji Municipality. Thus far one anti-tank mine and five anti-personnel mines had been removed.

In other demining operations, the right side of the Malanje - Cambondo road has been demined. Seven AT mines, six AP mines and 6 UXO were removed. Deminers also cleared 150 metres of the Cangandala - Kwanza, two km from the Cangandala municipal seat, where an AT mine was reported missing. No mine was found but two UXO were removed and the road remains closed to humanitarian partners.

There have been 118 cases and 68 deaths since end of June in a meningitis outbreak in Malanje and, according to health care partners, 25 new suspected cases were registered during the reporting period. Provincial health authorities have established treatment and immunisation centres in Kunda dia Base, Quela, Caculama, Cahombo and Marimba Municipalities. As of 7 September, 11,000 people had been immunised.

Lack of access continues to hamper the vaccination campaign coverage. Provincial health authorities were not able to get vaccines to Quirima and Luquembo Municipalities. Malanje Province has one of the lowest vaccination coverage rates in the country.

Moxico Province: The rainy season has begun but most of the seeds and tools for distribution have not arrived yet.

More than 3,600 refugees returned to the province under the organised repatriation effort during the reporting period, bringing the total number of refugees returned to the province to more than 17,500. However, humanitarian partners are concerned about the number of refugees returning spontaneously to Lumbala Nguimbo. The infrastructure is very weak and many roads are mined and bridges broken. A bridge over the Mucussueji River was completed which can bear vehicles carrying cargo and, once inaugurated, will improve road access between Luena and Luau for humanitarian partners.

Demining partners released a mine assessment report on the villages of Março 25, Luau Municipality, and Lago Dilolo, Lucano Municipality. Two suspected mine areas were demarcated.

During the month of August, six anti-personnel mines, one anti-tank mine and 87 UXO were deactivated and cleared from an area of approximately 156 sq m in the towns of Chinuque, Cazombo Municipality, Canende, Luau Municipality, and Lumeji Canjamba and Luxia in Luena Municipality. Also during the month, nearly 6,300 people received mine awareness training.

Two demining activities were completed in Luena Municipality. Demining partners deactivated 191 AP mines and 144 AT mines in the neighbourhoods of 4 de Fevereiro and Alto Luena.

OBSERVATION: Please note that the information contained in this report may have changed since it was received by OCHA Luanda.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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