A total of 533 000 Angolan children are suffering from malnutrition, 110 000 of them severely with a mortality rate of 20%, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says, urgently requesting more than one million USD to assist 12 000 households.
Luanda, the capital city, and the provinces of Kwanza Sul, Huambo and Bie are the most affected regions, where Red Cross says it will initially focus most of its resources. Most humanitarian organisations working in Angola are said to have run out of cash, and are desperately seeking funds to attend to the problem, reports say.
World Vision International, another charity agency working in Angola, is seeking one million USD to help save the lives of thousands of children under five and the elderly – all victims of drought. The UN estimates that 1.8 million people in Angola have been affected by drought.
World Vision was due to start a food distribution programme in December to cater for 100 000 families in the provinces of Kuanza Sul and Huambo, according to its website.
Angola is Africa’s second-biggest oil producer and exporter, and its economy has been consistently booming since the end of the civil war in 2002. But many observers wonder why the majority of its population still live in dire poverty, many without electricity, clean water, basic healthcare and adequate sanitation.
Angola is also an important diamond producer on the African continent. The country’s production reached a total 10 million carats in 2011 and was expcted to provide revenues of 1.2 billion USD based on an average price per carat of 120 USD, Spanish newspaper O Pais reported, citing industry sources.
Critics believe President Jose Edouardo dos Santos, in power since 1979, and his cronies of the ruling MPLA have massively enriched themselves, while the majority of the people starved and needed food aid.
Red Cross says Angola’s needs are still massive, and increasing especially during the food scarcity period (November to March). Up to now, there has been little response from the international community, it says.
*Photo by Mike DuBose (courtesy of UMNS). A child scavenges for food in a garbage pit near Malanje, Angola.