Angola: 600,000 starving

International humanitarian agencies have issued an alert about the deteriorating situation in Angola, where 600,000 people are in danger of starving to death and one million are receiving food aid. Stocks are expected to reach breakage point in September.

International organisations, like Medecins Sans Frontieres, have issued a statement declaring that unless food aid and medicines are not received in the coming weeks, a humanitarian catastrophe could take place in Angola.

The starving are mainly civilians caught up between the warring factions in Angola in 40 years of fighting, firstly against the former colonial power, Portugal (1961 – 1974) and later in the country’s civil war between government faction MPLA and the rebel movement, UNITA (1975 to 2002), while for a period there was a third group in northern Angola, FNLA.

Another group at risk are the ex-UNITA soldiers (numbering some 79,000, plus their families) who are living in special camps. The Angolan government has declared that if these soldiers are not supplied with food soon, they may resort to violence and the civil war could flare up again.

The Angolan government has asked the international community for 64m. USD in aid. Help is arriving, but slowly: the Ivory Coast has donated 65 doctors and 16 tonnes of medicines, while Italy has sent a team of observers.

Medecins Sans Frontieres has denounced the “inertia” and “indifference” of the international community, some countries of which consider that Luanda has enough revenue from oil to meet the country’s most basic and urgent needs. The problem is, as ever, a just and fair distribution of wealth.


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