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UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - Angola


UNHCR Global Appeal 1999 - Angola

1 December 1998

Basic Facts

What we do

UNHCR will phase out its repatriation and reintegration operation for Angolan refugees during the first half of 1999. As a result of renewed insecurity and low-intensity warfare between the Government and UNITA, UNHCR suspended the operation in June 1998 and will accelerate its phase-out of activities and reduction of staff. During this period, protection-related monitoring and limited individual assistance will continue to the extent circumstances permit. Alternative solutions, local integration in particular, will be promoted in countries of asylum.

Who we help

Some 370,000 Angolan refugees were expected to return during the repatriation operation. Some 145,000 returned between mid-1995 and August 1998. A low-intensity war in 1998 prompted some 30,000 Angolans into exile, bringing the total number of Angolan refugees in neighbouring countries to 255,000.

Our requirements

US$ 4,830,732

Our offices

Angola: Luanda, Mbanza Congo, Uige, Luena.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo: Kinshasa.

The Republic of the Congo: Pointe-Noire.

Zambia: Lusaka, Meheba.

Namibia: Windhoek.

The Republic of South Africa: Pretoria.

Our partners

Angola: Ministry for Social Affairs and Reinsertion (MINARS), Acao das Igrejas Angolanas (AIA).

The Democratic Republic of the Congo: World Vision Relief and Development, The Congolese Red Cross, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The Republic of the Congo: Red Cross of Pointe Noire/ IFRC.

Zambia: Ministry of Home Affairs, Lutheran World Service, Young Mens' Christian Association (YMCA), Africare.


There was considerable progress in the peace process during early 1998, especially in the extension of State administration to areas previously under UNITA control. But from the middle of the year, political and military developments have cast serious doubts about the solidity of the peace. Between June and September 1998, UNITA took back 90 of the 272 localities recently restored to state administration. During the second trimester of 1998, UNHCR had to relocate its staff and assets temporarily from four of the five original field locations. Premises and projects' assets were looted and destroyed. Losses are estimated at US $ 4 million. As of September 1998, UNHCR had not yet regained access to its operational bases in the provinces of Uige and Moxico. Low-level warfare prevails in those provinces and prospects for a cessation of hostilities and a successful resumption of the peace process are remote. Under the circumstances, UNHCR had to suspend its repatriation operation at the end of June 1998 and confirmed the indefinite suspension at its regional coordination meeting in Johannesburg in September 1998.

The situation was further complicated by new hostilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in July 1998, one of the main countries of asylum for Angolans, which prompted the arrival in Angola of about 1,000 refugees from the DRC and 158 Angolan returnees. However, by September 1998 the armed conflict in the DRC had shifted towards the east of the country and the risk of movements into Angola diminished. Providing assistance to the new and old groups of Angolan refugees in Katanga is again possible.

Those in need of protection and assistance

Most of the 145,000 refugees who returned between mid-1995 and mid-1998 went back to the provinces of Moxico, Uige and Zaire. But the resumption of low-intensity warfare in summer 1998 prompted some 30,000 Angolan refugees to flee to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. While most of them have settled in local communities, notably in the DRC and Zambia, some 76,000 Angolans receive assistance: 6,000 in the Republic of the Congo (Kondi-Mbaka and Komi in Pointe Noire), 41,000 in the DRC (in the Katanga region), 27,000 in Zambia (in Meheba and Mayukwayukwa settlements) and 2,000 in Namibia (in Osiri camp).

Most Angolan refugees originate from the northern provinces of Zaire and Uige and the eastern province of Moxico and have a rural background. Statistics indicate that women and children represent an estimated 80 per cent of the total refugee population.

Phasing out

After three-and-a-half years of assisting the repatriation and reintegration of Angolan refugees with some US$ 45 million in support from the international community, UNHCR is phasing out its operation. Until 30 June 1999, UNHCR will:

  • monitor areas of return and provide limited assistance to returnees (security conditions permitting);
  • maintain a contingency stock (household items for 4,000 families) and a small truck fleet;
  • support capacity-building activities for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Reintegration which will assume the responsibility of receiving and assisting returnees in accessible returnee areas;
  • assist internally displaced persons in areas of return where they live side by side with returnees and refugees. UNHCR will make available to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Reintegration part of its remaining stock of household items and will make available to WFP those trucks which are no longer required;
  • close all repatriation-related services (warehouses, workshops) and redeploy, hand over or sell its assets; and
  • reduce staff from 83 to 29 (four international, one United Nations Volunteer, 1 Junior Professional Officer, 23 local staff in UNHCR's Office in Luanda).

All remaining activities and posts will be under General Programmes in the second half of 1999. The UNHCR office in Luanda will then be handling a local settlement project for 9,200 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1,000 from Rwanda and 300 refugees living in Luanda. Conditions in the DRC permitting, the repatriation of the refugees originating from the DRC could be resumed in 1999.

Solutions in Asylum Countries

In the absence of tangible prospects for repatriation, UNHCR will promote alternative durable solutions for Angolan refugees in asylum countries. In the Republic of the Congo, DRC, Zambia and Namibia, increased emphasis will be placed on local integration. Local integration has been one of UNHCR's main activities in Zambia. The agency has assisted the Government of Zambia in preparing a new refugee act, trying to simplify procedures and curb delays. However, the recent deterioration of the Zambian economy may hamper the integration process.

UNHCR Kinshasa has planned for the local integration of more than 49,000 Angolan refugees in the DRC and 7,000 Angolan refugees in the Republic of the Congo. The implementation of this project depends on an improvement in the political situation within the DRC.

The Government of Namibia is becoming increasingly receptive to a local integration policy; but further negotiations are required.

Indeed, Angolan refugees who have spontaneously settled among local communities in the above countries have become self-sufficient and receive no or very little assistance. Those accommodated in specific sites have also achieved varying degrees of self-sufficiency but still need some assistance. Self-reliance will be promoted among these populations by providing agricultural support and income-generating activities.


Despite many obstacles (political, financial and logistical), UNHCR received some 145,000 Angolan returnees and assisted their reintegration. More than 100 community-based Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) were implemented in areas of return. They helped rehabilitate 18 health centres, 20 schools and 668 kilometres of road, providing returnees with access to markets, health and other vital facilities. These projects are invaluable, both for the returnees and for the return communities, as a whole.


The United Nations intervention in Angola falls within the framework of the Lusaka Protocol, under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. The latter supervises both the military component of the United Nations Observation Mission (MONUA) as well as the civil component, the United Nations Unit for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UCAH). UCAH coordinates humanitarian activities and is expected to continue to play a prominent role during the new humanitarian crisis in Angola. Close cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Reintegration will be maintained to assure the success of the planned hand-over. While UNHCR will no longer have implementing arrangements with NGOs in Angola in 1999, it will maintain close links with those remaining operational in areas of return. In asylum countries, UNHCR will cooperate closely with government entities which play a crucial role in facilitating self-reliance-oriented projects and possibly local integration.


Timely financial support is vital to complete the phase-out of the repatriation and reintegration operation from January to June 1999. Without it, UNHCR would be unable to provide capacity-building support to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Reintegration for the reception of and assistance to returnees as of mid-1999. In asylum countries, where the continued understanding and generosity of host Governments is essential, UNHCR must promptly set in motion adequate self-reliance projects. Failure to do so could adversely affect the institution of asylum.

Budget US$

The budget includes costs in Angola, asylum countries and at Headquarters.

ActivitiesSpecial Programmes
Shelter/Other Infrastructures52,100
Community Services145,000
Legal Assistance/Protection110,000
Agency Operational Support439,650
Programme Delivery Costs*1,269,903
Administrative Support Costs808,364

* Includes costs for protection, monitoring and coordination.