Victims of war - Angola

CARE began working in Angola in 1989, when wide-scale civil war was destroying towns and cities, severely damaging the economy, and rendering huge tracts of farmland untended and unproductive. An estimated 1.5 million people were killed and more than 2 million were displaced. A ceasefire signed in April 2002 has brought a welcomed end to 27 years of conflict.
But while the fighting has ended, the country's recovery is just beginning. Angola's infrastructure - roads, schools, health clinics - is devastated. Hospitals are without medicines or basic equipment, schools are without books, and public employees often lack the basic supplies for their day-to-day work.

Other long-term effects of the war in Angola further complicate the humanitarian situation. Millions of landmines remain throughout the country, effectively closing many of Angola's already decrepit highways and making farming unsafe.

Most of Angola's estimated 13 million people are farmers, and few were able to stay on their land throughout the course of the war. Among the obstacles these displaced Angolans face in returning home is a lack of seeds and tools to restart farming and the means to rebuild their homes. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Angolans remain displaced within their country, crowded in and around the large towns and cities in camps that offer some degree of security from marauding soldiers.

Other Angolans are expected to return from neighboring countries at a rapidly increasing rate.

The already dire conditions at the camps have been compounded by the famine spreading across Southern Africa. An estimated 2 million Angolans will need food aid in the coming year, requiring a supply of 500,000 tons of food to avoid famine-level starvation.

CARE's Response

In response to the food shortage across Southern Africa, CARE is promoting increased agricultural production while working with several partners, including the World Food Programme, to distribute monthly food rations to more than 113,000 displaced persons in camps. We've also worked closely with government officials to find land for farming that is fertile, close to the city and free of landmines.

For the long-term recovery, CARE is helping communities overcome the collapse of basic infrastructure with projects in mother-child health; water and sanitation; landmine education awareness, mapping and clearance; and restoration of the agricultural and marketing sectors.

These projects include:

CARE Angola Mine-Related Interventions Project - CAMRI helps locate, remove and dispose of mines through training, mine awareness and building the capacity of local organizations.

Drinking Water and Sanitation Project - This project is constructing or rehabilitating water pumps and wells to provide safe drinking water to 23,000 displaced people through partnership with the provincial department of water. Water committees are established within the displaced populations and these communities are responsible for the management of the pumps and health education.

Bie Emergency-Health - In addition to emergency food distribution, CARE is working to improve health in Bie Province through scabies control and other multi-resource interventions.

Luanda Urban Rehabilitation and Micro Enterprise Project - By providing training and resources, CARE is working to improve the capacity and services of local organizations and improve economic opportunity.