The drought crisis in southern Angola continues to deteriorate with an estimated 2.3 million people affected, including 491,131 children under the age of five.
Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus (VDPV2) type 2 outbreak in Cambulo district, Lunda Norte province, was confirmed on 13 June 2019.
With UNICEF support, a polio outbreak vaccination campaign took place in the province of Lunda Norte reaching over 424,560 children.
UNICEF also reached 500,000 people through Communication for Development (C4D) with key messages on polio vaccination and prevention in 13 municipalities.
Education, one of the sectors most affected by drought, remains underfunded by 100 percent, with an estimated 13 schools closed in Curoca municipality due to drought and over 192,000 school children affected and at risk of dropping out of school.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
2.3 million People facing food insecurity and nutrition crisis in southern Angola
141,600 People to be reached with access to clean drinking water
192,000 Children affected by the consequences of drought and at risk of dropping out from school
245,565 Children under 5 to be screened for malnutrition in 28 municipalities in Cunene,
Huíla, Namibe, and Bié.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Below-average and erratic rainfalls continue to exacerbate the drought crisis in southern Angola with severe consequences for the local populations, children and women, agriculture production, and livestock. The humanitarian impact of the drought, including food security and nutrition is estimated to affect 2.3 million people in the four provinces, Cunene, Huíla, Namibe and Bié, including an estimated 491,131 are children under the age of five. The situation deteriorated from January to March this year, with the reported number of people facing food insecurity in Cunene province having increased from 249,884 people in January to 857,443 in March and by June remained at around 860,000.
Considering the current conditions, resource mobilization, response capabilities, hydrometeorological and agriculture forecasting, the humanitarian outlook for 2020 is worrying. The conditions are likely to continue to deteriorate until the end of the year as the rainy season is not expected until end October and the impact of the rains on food security will not be felt until 2020.
Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) prevalence sits at 9.8 percent and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is at 5.6 percent according to VAC results (VAC 2018). Between 70 and 80 per cent of the population in Huíla and Cunene are facing food insecurity and have their nutrition status compromised; a scenario that is likely to worsen over the next six months considering the prospects of the rainy season and agriculture harvesting. The coping capacities of affected families are rapidly exhausting with families resorting to negative coping mechanisms including a reduction of the number of meals per day, with immediate repercussion on children’s health and nutrition status.
High deficits in water availability for crops and livestock have subsequently led to poor forecasting of the agriculture prospect for the 2018-2019 season. In turn, the cost of basic commodities, such as corn flower, beans, sugar spiked to a reported 25 per cent higher than the usual price. There are also reports of increased cases of domestic violence and abuse highlighting an increase in gender-based violence (GBV) associated with worsening of the conditions and negative coping mechanism. Small farmers and herders are also negatively impacted. More than 877,199 livestock, about 35 per cent of the livestock has died, compared to the 25 per cent average in the last five years. To cope with the pressures, many families are constantly on the move in search of better pasture for their livestock and alternative coping strategies.
The movement of people in search of water for human and animal consumption and greener pasture for their cattle has contributed to increased number of school dropouts. In some municipalities, school dropout rates have reached 34 per cent while in others, such as Curoca municipality, as much as 100 per cent after 13 schools were closed. While in Cunene province an estimated 192,000 children are at risk of dropping out from school, as the drought situation continues to deteriorate. According to the Provincial Education Directorate in Cunene, 614 out of 887 primary schools are affected by droughts leaving approximately 150,000 children without access to education; constituting almost 70 percent of the total number of students in the province (Cunene has 214, 311 students). Consequently, the absence of regular school attendance makes children more vulnerable to future calamities and increases delayed school entry/re-entry, school drop-out and absenteeism.
There are an estimated 23,607 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Lunda Norte; 20,155 reside in the Lóvua Settlement and 3,452 in the urban areas of Dundo municipality. However, plans are underway for repatriation of the refugees to their places of origin.
Two genetically linked cases of Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus (VDPV2) Type 2 were detected in Cambulo district, Lunda Norte province while an unlinked case was detected in Cuvango district in Huíla province. This led to the activation of the National Emergency Operations Centre, indicating a health emergency mode. The confirmation of the Polio virus in Cambulo district on 13 June 2019, a measles outbreak in Lunda Sul, and 78,618 cases of scabies reported in Huila province by the health authorities in the first semester of 2019, increased the complexity of the humanitarian situation. This in turn led to increased demand and need for mobilization of additional resources to ensure a timely and sustained humanitarian response from UNICEF and partners; and subsequent revision of UNICEF’s humanitarian action for children (HAC) to ensure it is aligned with the prevailing humanitarian context and needs.