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Angola: UNHCR IDP operations gather momentum

Briefing notes

Angola: UNHCR IDP operations gather momentum

4 August 2000

UNHCR operations for internally displaced persons in Angola are gaining momentum as uprooted people continue to flee insecurity in the countryside and to congregate in main population centres. UNHCR's operations in Angola are aimed at assisting some 300,000 IDPs and returnees in Luanda Province and in the northern provinces of Zaïre and Uige.

In Uige, international aid workers now have more flexibility of movement, including access to some surrounding towns. IDPs are continuing to arrive in the main urban centres, fleeing continued fighting between government troops and UNITA rebels. A distribution of blankets, soap and clothes was carried out in Uige for IDPs and as well as residents suffering from sleeping sickness. Today, 4,000 buckets and 990 blankets will be transported by WFP cargo flight to the Uige/Negage area for distribution, and an additional 6,000 buckets will be transported next week. In addition, UNHCR is working closely with the Angolan government, other agencies and NGOs to assess sites designated by the government as possible relocation sites for IDPs - many of whom are presently sheltered in overcrowded warehouses or transit centres. We are helping with site preparation, development and the provision of basic facilities. Mapping, sketch designs and technical guidance are being provided.

In Uige town, there are 46,000 IDPs - or about 40 percent of the population. This is causing tremendous pressure on already over-stretched resources and infrastructure. Several water, sanitation, health and agricultural projects have been agreed with partner NGOs, including the reconstruction and rehabilitation of eight health posts in the Uige / Negage area. Several more agreements are due to be concluded shortly for improvements in water and sanitation, for the distribution of seeds and tools and for schools and day-care centres.

In the Viana area near Luanda, UNHCR has distributed 2.9 tons of clothing (donated by Hennes and Mauritz) and has signed agreements with the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Christian Children's Fund for the expansion of primary education and development of playgrounds. African Humanitarian Action will assist with overall camp management, community services and women's income-generation projects. UNHCR has donated an ambulance for the transport of ailing people in Viana.

Discussions are also underway with government representatives and a local NGO for a possible population registration to re-establish a birth and death registry, which has not existed for the past 25 years of conflict.