Humanitarian situation in Angola - reporting period: 16-28 Feb 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
Critical Issues
  • Serious nutritional situation found in Mungo during assessment in Huambo Province.
  • Assessment in Chicomba reveals critical needs among returning populations in Huíla Province.
  • Three mine incidents occur in Menongue and Mavinga in Kuando Kubango Province.
  • Access to vulnerable populations remains limited in Kuanza Sul Province.
  • Access to remote areas where refugees are returning remains difficult in Uíge Province.
Provincial Update

Bengo Province: Provincial authorities report that as of mid-February, 813 demobilised personnel and 2,000 civilians remained in Fazenda Santa Cruz gathering area. More than 400 persons from gathering areas in Kuanza Norte, Malanje, Uíge and Zaire have returned to Bengo Province.

Benguela Province: On 21 February, the sub-group on food security met to discuss the 2002 - 2003 agricultural campaign. According to provincial authorities, 71,276 residents and returnees were assisted with seeds and tools. Partners are concerned about the impact of irregular rainfall on crops in Cubal and Ganda Municipalities. Participants recommended several follow-up actions to the meeting, including the creation of a monitoring group to assess the results of the agricultural campaign, an evaluation of the current status of agricultural activities in Bocoio and Balombo Municipalities and capacity-building for farmers.

According to humanitarian partners and local authorities, approximately 50 demobilised personnel and 830 civilians arrived in Ganda town from gathering areas in several provinces. The return of these populations to Ebanga, Casseque and Chicuma in Ganda Municipality has been hampered by poor road conditions, broken bridges and suspected mine infestation.

Huambo Province: Humanitarian partners conducted an assessment in Bimbe, Bailundo Municipality, on 21 - 22 February. Local authorities estimate that 90 percent of the 26,336 persons living in the commune has recently returned to 72 villages throughout the commune. Access to Bimbe is difficult due to lack of bridges on the road from Bailundo and suspected mine infestation on alternative routes. According to local authorities, 131 persons died of malnutrition in Bimbe between December and January and no measles vaccinations have occurred in recent years. The most common diseases registered in the local health post are malaria, diarrhoea, acute malnutrition and acute respiratory illnesses. The assessment team conducted a nutritional screening in the villages of Samacaca and Cangolo, three and six km from the communal capital, respectively. The team found five cases of severe malnutrition and 17 cases of moderate malnutrition in Cangolo and 14 cases of moderate malnutrition in Sanacaca. Basic sanitation and safe drinking water is also lacking.

Access to the Sambo gathering area remains limited. The most common illnesses reported are malaria, acute respiratory illnesses, intestinal parasites, diarrhoea and anaemia. More than 260 deaths were reported since October, including 109 children under the age of five and 75 persons from surrounding communities.

Partners conducted blanket-feeding operations in Mungo during the first and third weeks of February for approximately 18,000 boys and girls. Nutritional screenings during the distributions indicated that approximately 37 percent of the targeted population was at risk of malnutrition. Thirty-six children were referred to a nearby therapeutic feeding centre. Partners are concerned that the food security situation in Mungo is serious and may become worse if populations from Esfinge and Chiteta gathering areas begin moving to the area in large numbers in coming weeks.

On 16 February, an oil company chartered helicopter transported soap, clothing and school materials to the Esfinge gathering area. Partners also distributed mosquito nets to populations in Chiteta and Lunge gathering areas.

Humanitarian partners organised a workshop on security matters on 17 and 18 February. Approximately 100 persons attended the training, which included first-aid, mine awareness, security, safe driving and personal security modules.

Huíla Province: An inter-agency assessment to Chicomba on 14 February identified several necessary interventions in the health, water and sanitation, food security and shelter and on 24 February, the Chicomba Contingency Planning Team met to coordinate plans to assist vulnerable populations. On 26 February, tents and plastic sheeting were transported to Chicomba town and demining partners began clearing a site for a reception centre. The site is near the Kuvundge River and partners plan to provide water to the centre. Humanitarian partners have identified 15,555 persons who have spontaneously returned to Chicomba Municipality. More than 6,000 and 8,000 persons are in Que and Chicomba town, respectively. An additional 12,000 persons may have returned to areas inaccessible to partners in the interior of the municipality. Agencies expect that more than 3,500 persons will be transported to Chicomba from the Galangue gathering area during March and that thousands of IDPs will return from locations throughout the province following the end of the rainy season.

Provincial health authorities report that the principal causes of morbidity during February were malaria, diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and measles, with 930 cases of malaria resulting in 15 deaths and 47 cases of measles resulting in five deaths. Measles-related deaths were concentrated in camps in Caluquembe Municipality. Authorities also reported a shortage of essential drugs.

Humanitarian partners organised a security awareness course for more than 40 UN personnel. The training included first-aid, mine awareness, security, safe driving and personal security. Similar courses for NGOs will take place in early March.

Kuando Kubango Province: Two mine incidents were reported in Mavinga, including an incident near the airstrip on 18 February that resulted in one injury and anti-personnel explosion in the centre of town on 25 February that resulted in one injury. An incident near the Menongue airstrip on 19 February resulted in one death. Partners in Menongue plan to conduct additional mine awareness activities in the neighbourhood near the airport.

Partners have provided plastic sheeting, blankets and soap to the 233 recently arrived ex-UNITA soldiers and 576 family members in Soba Matias gathering area. Approximately 600 persons were transported to Bié Province from Soba Matias on 28 February, while six trucks transporting demobilised personnel and family members from Mavinga arrived to the area.

Kuanza Norte Province: Humanitarian partners continue to register returnees in the northern municipalities of the province. As of mid-February, 28,058 returnees had been registered. The transit centres in Bairro Cerâmica, Lucala Municipality, and Sassa, Cazengo Municipality, are giving shelter to approximately 690 and 680 persons, respectively.

Provincial authorities have begun a small animal breeding programme with 180 returnee families in Bolongongo, Ambaca, Quiculungo and Samba Caju to increase food security and sustainable livelihoods.

Humanitarian partners identified 311 new cases of tripanosomiase in Golungo Alto and Cazengo Municipalities during a mission conducted in late February.

Kuanza Sul Province: Access remains difficult throughout the province. The main road connecting Seles town with Amboiva commune remains closed to humanitarian partners due to suspected mine infestation. Agencies are using an alternative road via Waku Kungo and Cassongue to reach the approximately 40,000 returnees and vulnerable residents who are in need of assistance. In addition, the main road connecting Sanga commune with Waku Kungo town remains closed due to the suspected presence of mines, hampering access to approximately 4,000 returnee families. Access to Mussende from Kuanza Sul Province is restricted due to the broken bridge over the Longa River near Cariango commune and the poor condition of the alternative route via Calulo, limiting support to approximately 11,000 persons in the nearby gathering area of Cambale and returnees near Mussende town.

According to provincial authorities and humanitarian partners, approximately 670 former UNITA soldiers and their family members arrived in Waku Kungo town and are receiving shelter at a location 12 km from the town. Provincial authorities report that 9,941 persons from gathering areas have been resettled in the province.

Municipal health authorities conducted an emergency vaccination campaign against measles following a recent outbreak in Sumbe town and Capolo that affected 21 children. The health situation of approximately 30,000 persons in Pambangala, Cassongue Municipality, is also of concern due to the lack of health assistance and essential medicines.

Lunda Sul Province: Access to populations in Alto Chicapa in Cacolo Municipality has been restricted due to poor road conditions and the discovery of an anti-tank mine on the road Saurimo - Cacolo on 13 February. Poor road conditions and a damaged bridge over the N=B4Gua River have also hampered assistance to 3,000 returnees along the road Dala - Cazage. Broken bridges along the road Saurimo - Muconda have made transportation of assistance to vulnerable populations difficult. Critical needs have been reported in Luma Cassai, Cazoa, Chiluage and Cassege in Muconda Municipality.

According to provincial authorities, 813 persons and 548 persons have been transported to areas of origin from Peso Velho and Tchinege gathering areas, respectively.

Moxico Province: Partners estimate that approximately 60 percent of the IDP population in Luena and nearby areas has returned to areas of origin and that more than 7,160 refugees have returned to Luau and Lumbala Nguimbo Municipalities. Basic conditions are not in place, however, for returning IDPs and refugees and access to remote areas remains limited.

An inter-agency team conducted an assessment in Cangamba on 18 January. Local authorities report more than 4,100 persons in the town and surrounding communes and approximately 16,000 persons from Cangamba in Luena and Kuito Kuanavale. Access to the area is difficult due to mines and broken bridges. Health facilities are lacking and the most common diseases are malaria, respiratory infections, skin infections, diarrhoea and sexually transmitted diseases. A rapid nutritional screening indicated that the nutritional situation is stable. The team recommended the establishment of a health and nutritional surveillance system, water and sanitation interventions, a food-for-work program, school rehabilitation and the distribution of didactic materials, essential non-food items for targeted groups and demining of the main access road to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Approximately 170 demobilised personnel and their families from Lunda Sul remain in Sangongo near Luena town. Health, water and shelter interventions are required for populations awaiting onward transportation to their areas of origin. Between 15 - 17 February, approximately 300 demobilised personnel and their families were transported from the Calala gathering area to Luena and locations in Benguela, Bié and Huambo Provinces. Twenty-seven persons also arrived in Cazombo from gathering areas in Lunda Sul.

Although two schools have been rehabilitated in Cazombo, 4,822 children will not be able to enrol in school this year due to lack of schools and teachers. According to local education authorities, 1,300 students have been enrolled for the current school year, but only 15 teachers are available. In Luau Municipality, 8,000 students have been enrolled, but only 20 schools were opened with 24 teachers. More than 380 teachers are still required.

Health partners reported that the main causes of illness of the 2,152 persons consulted at Cazombo hospital in February were malaria (39 percent), respiratory infections (21 percent), intestinal parasites (eight percent) and skin diseases (four percent). Forty-nine cases of sexually transmitted diseases were also reported. No cases of malnutrition were reported in Cazombo during the period, although three cases were identified among the 707 people consulted in the villages of Calala, Mufurila, Catocola, Tchikelete, Kanda and Calunda.

According to a recent survey in Luau town, 80 percent of the surveyed population had never participated in mine awareness activities. As the movement of people and goods continues to increase, the risk of mine incidents may become more serious. Mines and poor infrastructure continues to hamper access to the villages of Chiyena and Chilemo and along the road Luau - Luacano. Demining organisations and Government authorities have agreed on a provincial demining priority plan, including demining and mine awareness activities.

Uíge Province: Large areas of the province remain inaccessible to humanitarian organisations due to torrential rains, poor road conditions and lack of maintenance. Former Angolan refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo continue returning to Kikuta, near the border with Malanje Province. According to local authorities, populations have no food, clothing, agricultural inputs or cooking utensils. The area is inaccessible to humanitarian partners. Spontaneous return movements also continue to the inaccessible areas of Kimbele Municipality. According to partners, approximately 6,800 persons have arrived in the municipality in recent weeks and are in need of food assistance.

Conditions are deteriorating in the overcrowded Kituma camp due to the large number of IDPs and populations from gathering areas who are remaining in the camp longer than expected. Partners report that the Kituma health post is attending twice the number of persons for which it was planned and does not have sufficient personnel or medical supplies.

Health partners have launched a measles vaccination campaign in Uíge Municipality for children under five years of age and women of child-bearing age. Training is underway for health staff and the campaign is expected to reinforce routine immunisation capacity at fixed posts.

Partners have begun training community groups to be conflict resolution facilitators in Zulo Mongo, Songo Municipality, and Alfândega, Sanza Pombo Municipality. The programme includes a component, "Conversas no Jango", targeting women and girls. A network of local NGOs is also receiving capacity-building and conducting activities in Alfândega, including basic sanitation, land mine awareness, non-food item distribution and animal husbandry activities.

Zaire Province: Access to M=B4Banza Congo and Soyo from Luanda has improved in recent weeks. Access to more remote areas, such as Noqui, Pedra do Feitiço, Kaluka and Kindeje, remains impossible due to broken or non-existing bridges and poor road conditions.

OCHA Angola
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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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