2 December 2002,
Rome -- In Angola, the food situation of a large
number of displaced people gives serious cause for concern.
A cease-fire agreement between the
government and UNITA forces in April this year brought peace to
Angola, a country devastated by almost three decades of
conflict. Massive numbers of people are now returning to their
places of origin.
The number of people in
need of emergency food aid has been increased to 1.9 million
from 1.42 million estimated by a joint FAO/World Food Programme
mission in May. Some 4.35 million people are estimated to be at
risk next year, including more than 2 million who will be highly
Malnutrition rates have
declined over the past months with better access to the needy
population, FAO said. But food insecurity remains at high levels
and most of the areas to which the refugees and internally
displaced people are returning have no basic health services.
Relief efforts and internal trade are
hindered by the consequences of war on Angola's
infrastructure, FAO said. Roads are in very poor conditions,
bridges are in ruins, and minefields prevent the creation of
alternative routes and impede farmers to work on their fields.
Heavy rains have turned roads into rivers
and access to vast areas, such as the north of Huambo province,
have been cut off. People are facing difficulties accessing
For 2003, FAO
has launched a $12.7 million aid appeal to assist the most
vulnerable people to resume their agricultural activities. The
UN agency is planning to continue the distribution of urgently
needed quality seeds and tools.
"Good quality seeds were not available within
the country, so we have identified skilled farmers in nine
provinces and strengthened their ability to produce quality
seed. We then buy a part of their production and distribute it
to other needy farmers," said Fernanda Guerrieri, Chief
of FAO's Emergency Operations Service.
Land-tenure projects, currently funded by Italy, to
facilitate the return and reintegration of farmers are also
important for the rehabilitation process undertaken by FAO and
Projects on quality seed
production, animal breeding, small fisheries and land allocation
to internally displaced people who have returned to their homes
will also be part of FAO's emergency activities.
In 2002, FAO provided seeds and tools
throughout the country, including some of the remotest areas of
Angola, funded by the United States and Japan.
The relief assistance reached farmers just in time for
the September/October sowing season. All in all more than 300
000 families received tools, vegetable seeds and food crop seeds
such as maize, beans and sorghum, enabling them to resume food
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