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Press Release 99/38 Joint WFP/FAO

FAO/WFP CALL FOR EMERGENCY FOOD AID TO ASSIST ANGOLANS FACING INCREASED RISK OF MALNUTRITION


Rome, 16 June --- Hundreds of thousands of Angolans face an increased risk of malnutrition due to reduced access to food, coupled with poor health and inadequate sanitation conditions, says a joint report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

The report says international emergency food assistance, estimated at 180,000 tonnes of cereals will be needed through April next year. Of this total, 56,000 tonnes have already been pledged, leaving a shortfall of 124,000 tonnes.

Most at risk are 1.7 million internally displaced people who have fled their homes and sought refuge in the country's provincial capitals and municipalities which have become virtually isolated because of the ongoing fighting.

The escalation of violence in the country has sparked a severe disruption of agricultural activities, says the FAO/WFP report. Several traditional agricultural areas have been engulfed by fighting, affecting people's ability to plant and harvest crops.

"Hostilities have been experienced in virtually all provinces but the areas worst affected have been the main maize growing central provinces," according to the report.

The recent FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to the country warns that food shortages in these areas will worsen in the coming months.

With most roads closed, the movement of people and goods has been seriously constrained. Food distribution by surface transport is being hampered by the conflict, making costly air transport the only alternative.

Over the past few months, hundreds of thousands of farming families have been forced to flee their land. Most even had to abandon impending harvests, leaving food to be looted or to rot in the fields.

Nation-wide cereal production is down by 11 percent, increasing the country's food import requirement for 1999/2000 to an estimated 505,000 tonnes, compared to the actual imports of 420,000 tonnes during the last marketing year.

The report also warns that production has been reduced by decreases in the planted area and poor crop husbandry due to limitations imposed on normal agricultural practices by insecurity.

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For further information, please contact:

Francis Mwanza
WFP/Rome  
John Riddle
FAO/Rome    
tel: 39 06 6513-2623 tel: 39 06 5705 3259

The full report is available on FAO's web site at: http://www.fao.org On the left side of the home page click on Economic, then GIEWS and then click on reports.


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