Humanitarian situation in Angola - reporting period: 16-31 Jan 2003

Critical Issues

  • Food assistance was distributed to populations from Sambo gathering area in Huambo Province.

  • Returnees to Chicomba moved to Matala in search of assistance in Huíla Province.

  • The airstrip in Mavinga has been closed to humanitarian partners due to poor conditions in Kuando Kubango Province.

  • Poor road conditions and damaged bridges continued to impede access to vulnerable populations in several locations in Lunda Sul Province.

  • Large influxes of refugees continued to arrive in Cazombo, Lumbala N'Guimbo and Luau in Moxico Province.

  • Critical needs were reported in Cuimba Municipality in Zaire Province.

Provincial Update

Bengo Province: On 27 - 29 January, representatives of the Government, UN Agencies and NGOs conducted a mission to Bula Atumba, Fazenda Santa Cruz and Quibaxe. According to municipal authorities in Bula Atumba, the population increased from 13,581 persons in October to 18,461 persons at the end of October. An additional 21,000 persons are expected to return to the municipality from Luanda, Kuanza Norte Province and nearby gathering areas. The food security situation in Bula Atumba is stable and the population has planted corn and beans. Shelter materials, clothing and essential non-food items are still urgently required. The villages of Quiage commune remain inaccessible due to poor road conditions and collapsed bridges. In Quibaxe Municipality, roads are in extremely poor condition and could become impassable, hampering access to Fazenda Santa Cruz, Ucua, Bula Atumba and Pango Aluquem. By the end of December, approximately 20,000 persons had returned to Quibaxe. An additional 8,000 persons are expected to return from Luanda and Caxito.

Population movements from the Mimbota gathering area began on 22 January. On 28 January, the Government officially closed Mimbota. Partners report that 278 persons remain in the area awaiting transport. Movements from Fazenda Santa Cruz gathering area have not yet begun.

Benguela Province: Approximately 3,000 returnees in the villages of Catengue and Chiluama near Cubal do Lumbo in Boicoio Municipality are likely to be food insecure in coming months due to the lack of seeds and tools. On 22 January, partners completed a food needs assessment in return areas in Balombo, Bocoio, Cubal and Ganda Municipalities.

Lack of adequate infrastructure and mine infestation continue to limit access to several areas in the province. During the last week of January, access to the bridge over the Cavaco River that links Lobito to Benguela was restricted for several days. Despite repairs in recent months, humanitarian partners remain concerned that access to populations in the southern part of the province, including Caimbambo, Chongoroi, Cubal and Ganda Municipalities, could become restricted if the bridge is not permanently repaired. The communes of Ebanga, Casseque and Chicuma communes in Ganda Municipality are inaccessible due to collapsed bridges, poor road conditions and mine infestation. Demining NGOs lack funds to carry out necessary demining and mine awareness activities.

Mine incidents were reported on 27 and 30 January. The first incident involved an anti-tank mine in Chicuma commune. The local administrator, the soba of Chicuma and three other persons died in the accident. The second incident occurred in Quilende and involved a private vehicle travelling from Lubango to Benguela. No injuries or deaths were reported.

According to provincial authorities, approximately 4,215 ex-combatants and 18,488 family members remain in the Chingongo, Chimboa, Malongo, Passe and Santa Ana gathering areas awaiting payment of salaries, documentation and transport to areas of origin.

Cabinda Province: OCHA organised an inter-agency rapid assessment on 23 - 24 January. Team members met with the municipal administrator of Dinge commune in the resettlement area of Caio - Cacongo in Landana Municipality and held two meetings with the Provincial Government.

Cunene Province: The Provincial Government of Cunene has confirmed the arrival of 762 resettlement kits for ex-combatants who will remain in the province. Income-generation projects in fishing, agriculture and micro-enterprises have also been launched for 120 ex-combatants.

Huambo Province: Three-month food rations were distributed in Sachitembo, 20 km northwest of Sambo, for approximately 24,700 persons from the Sambo gathering area. Humanitarian personnel were transported to the site by armoured vehicles. Beneficiaries from the gathering areas had been cut-off from assistance since November due to the closure of the access road Huambo - Cruzeiro - Sambo following a serious mine incident. Returnees in the communes of Sambo and Samboto have not yet received assistance.

The nutritional situation may become critical in return areas where basic social infrastructure is not in place or where logistic constraints prevent safe access. Local authorities are concerned that the nutritional situation in Mungo Municipality and some areas of Bailundo Municipality, including Hengue commune, is rapidly deteriorating. The number of malnourished children arriving to Bailundo feeding centres from remote locations in these municipalities has risen significantly, indicating increased food insecurity. A recent nutritional screening in Mungo found 148 malnourished children. A large part of the municipality's population is not accessible to humanitarian partners, especially in Cambuengo commune. Partners estimate than less than one third of the target population received seeds and tools during the last agricultural campaign. The poor condition of the bridge over the Colele River on the road Bailundo - Mungo has prevented heavy trucks from using the bridge, hampering assistance to more than 26,000 persons in Mungo Municipality. The nutritional situation in Tchicala Tcholohanga Municipality may also worsen due to poor roads, collapsed bridges and suspected mine infestation and the recent closure of the feeding centre in nearby Cruzeiro.

Efforts are underway to improve access and repair several important bridges, including the bridge over the Cusso River that allows access to the Tchiteta gathering area and the north of Bailundo Municipality and the bridge over the Caluenho River that links Alto Hama and Bailundo town.

Provincial authorities report that 1,124 ex-combatants and 6,253 family members have left gathering areas and returned to their homes in Huambo Province or other provinces. Approximately 2,500 ex-combatants and 10,500 family members have arrived in Huambo Province from other

Huíla Province: Provincial authorities report that more than 1,823 persons from gathering areas in Bié Province arrived in Quilengues and received food assistance. Approximately 3,500 ex-combatants and family members have returned to locations within the province. One hundred and ten ex-combatants are currently receiving vocational training in carpentry, masonry and shoemaking.

Humanitarian partners report that some families that spontaneously returned to Chicomba from Matala and Fazenda Tomba are now returning to Matala, where humanitarian operations are underway and basic social services are provided.

Kuando Kubango Province: Approximately 140 persons arrived in Caiundo from Cunene Province and are being assisted by humanitarian partners.

The airstrip in Mavinga was closed to humanitarian partners on 27 January, seriously affecting the core pipelines and humanitarian programs for approximately 120,000 persons in the area. Due to mine infestation, access to Mavinga by road is not possible. Emergency water and sanitation activities are still required in Mavinga and 200 MTs of seeds for nearby Capembe and Matungo gathering areas have not arrived in time for the current planting season. Access to the gathering areas is also hampered by suspected mine infestation.

Kuanza Sul Province: The 1 - 15 January OCHA situation report incorrectly reported a mine incident in Cazengo Municipality, Kuanza Sul Province. Cazengo is in Kuanza Norte Province. In addition, the report incorrectly stated that "the number of registered persons in Catofe GA has decreased from 16,805 to 2,540." The number has actually decreased from 24,097 family members and 4,942 ex-combatants to 16,805 family members and 2,540 ex-combatants.: Access to Amboiva commune in Seles Municipality remains restricted due to suspected mine infestation. Approximately 4,000 returnee families have not received assistance since December. Access to approximately 4,000 families in Sanga commune in Cela Municipality is also restricted due to a mine incident in late December.

Partners conducted a mission in Katofe, Waku Kungo and Pambangala locations from 28 - 30 January. Despite the irregularity of fuel supply, ferry service on the Keve River has been restored, guaranteeing access to Pambangala and the Menga gathering area in Cassongue Municipality. Access to Waku Kungo from Huambo Province has also been re-established.

Lunda Sul Province: The bridge over the Ngua River in Dala Municipality requires immediate repair to facilitate the delivery of food assistance to approximately 1,000 persons in Cazage commune and surrounding villages. Poor road conditions are also impeding access to 1,027 persons in Alto Chicapa commune. Access to the previously inaccessible Cazoa commune, 50 km from Dala has been re-established and humanitarian partners began registering vulnerable populations on 24 January.

During a recent assessment on 29 January, partners confirmed a serious lack of essential drugs in Muconda Municipality and increasing incidents of common illnesses, including malaria, respiratory diseases and diarrhoea.

More than 5,300 persons in the Tchinegi gathering area received corn, peas and vegetable oil on 24 January. The transportation of persons from the Tchinegi gathering area to locations within Lunda Sul Province and to other provinces has begun.

Malanje Province: On 23 - 24 January, UN Agencies and provincial authorities conducted a rapid food security assessment in Cacuso Municipality. The aim of the assessment was to assess the food security situation of 1,904 IDPs from Haco, 2,298 IDPs from Calandula Municipality and 822 recent returnees from Luanda who are living in Cacuso town and Fazenda Esperança. The team confirmed that IDPs have developed sufficient coping mechanisms. The returnees from Luanda, however, require food and non-food item assistance and immediate support for the second phase of the agricultural campaign. In addition, urgent water and sanitation interventions are required in Fazenda Esperança where 2,298 persons rely on one water source and not have adequate sanitation. Several cases of acute diarrheic diseases among children have been reported in the location. The Cacuso municipal administration also reported that more than 3,047 persons who have spontaneously returned to their points of origin in Soqueco commune are in critical need of food and health assistance, water interventions, clothing and essential non-food items.

The road Malanje - Caculama remains closed due to a mine incident in December. Demining operations resumed on 23 January.

Provincial authorities report that 494 persons from Peso Velho gathering area in Lunda Sul Province have arrived in Malanje town. These persons are temporarily sheltered at the Katepa transit centre and will be reintegrated into the bairros of Malanje Municipality. Food distributions to 6,590 persons in Ngangassol gathering area concluded on 23 January. More than 8,400 persons in Damba gathering area are still inaccessible to humanitarian partners due to a mine incident on the access route.

Moxico Province: On 30 January, local authorities in Lumbala Nguimbo reported that 7,197 resettled and returned persons live in the municipality. Humanitarian assistance to the location is limited by mines and broken bridges. Access to the communes of Mussuma, Ninda, Chiume and Sessa is hampered by damaged bridges over the Ninda, Mussuma, Mitete, Nengo, Luxu, Luati, Ninda Cassanga and Lucula Rivers.

Angolan refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia continue to arrive in Cazombo, Luau and Lumbala Nguimbo. Adequate conditions to receive returnees have not yet been established, although the construction of a reception centre to accommodate more than 1,000 persons is underway in Luau. A demining organisation assessed the mine situation in Luau on 30 January and conducted mine awareness training for UN Agency and NGO staff.

The resettlement of populations from the gathering areas is scheduled to recommence in February. Provincial authorities plan to open a transit centre in Cuemba in Bié Province to receive persons from Moxico gathering areas who are in transit to Benguela, Bié, Huambo, Huíla, Kuando Kubango and Kuanza Sul Provinces. The road from Luena to Cuemba has been demined by the FAA, although flooding around the Cuiva River continues to impede access. A demining organisation has expressed interest in verifying the road from Chicala to Cangumbe, although scarcity of equipment and human resources will limit activities for at least one month. Some reports indicate that populations may have already begun walking from Luena to Bié.

An inter-agency mission visited Cazombo, Lumbala N'Guimbo and Luau on 29 January - 1 February to assess the situation of returning IDPs, refugees from DRC and Zambia and gathering area populations and discuss possible interventions with local authorities. Following field visits, mission participants met with the humanitarian community in Luena and attended a briefing by the Governor and the provincial directors of MINARS and UTCAH.

The IDPs and Refugees sub-group met on 22 January. Local authorities reported that of the province's approximately 250,000 IDPs, 1,773 have returned to their areas of origin under an organised programme and 73,060 have returned spontaneously.

Humanitarian partners visited the previously inaccessible area of Cangonga, 138 km from Luena. Approximately 1,545 persons live in the area and require agricultural tools, essential non-food items, clothing and special food items, including vegetable oil and sugar. The absence of an adequate health centre complicates the treatment of common illnesses. Many paths from Cangonga to nearby villages are reportedly mined.

Uíge Province: Humanitarian access to and from the province is improving, despite the renewed deterioration of the road via Quitexe. The main route from Luanda via Ambriz is currently being repaired. Repair of the stretch Nzeto - Tomboco is reportedly completed and work is underway from both ends of the stretch Tomboco - M'Banza Kongo. Trucks and taxis continue to use this route for commerce and private travel.

Zaire Province: Humanitarian partners report a constant influx of refugees from the DRC into M'Banza Kongo and current facilities at the transit camp established at the old Kiowa IDP camp are insufficient to receive the incoming numbers of people. Returning refugees are receiving essential non-food items, including blankets and kitchen kits, before leaving M'Banza Kongo for their areas of origin.

Provincial authorities report that almost all former IDPs in M'Banza Kongo have been resettled or have moved spontaneously to their areas of origin. Partners are conducting health and hygiene awareness and education activities in M'Banza Congo and the Kiowa transit centre.

During a recent assessment, provincial authorities and humanitarian partners reported that the northeastern municipality of Cuimba is one of the most critical areas in the province. Broken bridges and bad road conditions, however, prevent humanitarian access to the municipality. Cuimba town and the locations of Serra da Kanda, Luvaca and Buela are in urgent need of assistance. Populations are forced to walk as far as 80 km for basic medical assistance in these areas. Organised return movements are in progress to many areas of the municipality where humanitarian organisations are not present.

OCHA Angola
Av. Comandante Valódia 206 - 5 Andar, Luanda, Angola
Tel. (244-2) 444 321 Fax. (244-2) 442 710


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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