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Angola: January - October 2002

25-11-2002 Operational Update

The Angola Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) carries out a range of activities to assist and protect victims of armed conflict. Currently, the delegation employs 44 expatriate staff and 360 Angolan employees, working in the capital, Luanda, as well as in the sub-delegations in Huambo, Kuito, Lobito and offices in Lubango and Luena. All 18 provinces of Angola are covered by the ICRC, either through the sub-delegations or by field delegates travelling from Luanda on a regular basis. Some ICRC activities are carried out in close co-operation with the national Red Cross Society, the Cruz Vermelha de Angola (CVA).

The figures provided refer to the ICRC's activities in Angola in the months from January to October, 2002.


Following the signing of the ceasefire agreement between the parties to the conflict on April 4th, the Tracing Agency of the ICRC has seen a substantial increase in its activities. Thus, in the first ten months of this year, more than 30'500 Red Cross messages have been collected and more than 29'500 distributed in the different provinces of Angola, including in formerly inaccessible areas. In order to provide a better service in the face of this increase, 118 new Red Cross offices have been established throughout the country, and new ones are continuously being established.

More than 3'100 families have opened tracing requests asking the ICRC for assistance in finding out the where abouts of their loved ones. At the same time, 960 unaccompanied minors have been registered by the ICRC. Assisted by new software and digital cameras, the delegates strive to localise their family members. Since the beginning of this year, it was possible to reunite 175 children with their families. All these activities are carried out in close collaboration with the national Red Cross Society (CVA).

In the framework of its programmes in favour of persons deprived of freedom, the ICRC has carried out 42 visits to 24 different locations since the beginning of the year.

Assistance to conflict victims - Agriculture and Food Security  

The ICRC's Agriculture and Food Security programmes are concentrated in the provinces of Bié and Huambo. In Huambo, food distributions were made to 10'000 families on a regular basis in the camps for displaced persons (IDPs) of Caala and the now closed camp of Cruzeiro. In October, the caseload was increased to 17'400 families who received seeds, tools and food as seed protection. Furthermore, vegetable seed kits were distributed to 10'000 families in the province of Bié and to 42'000 families in the province of Huambo. Tree seedlings, providing for 500'000 trees, are distributed by the ICRC in these same provinces.

Health and Nutrition  

The ICRC in Angola works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, providing assistance in government hospitals. In this way, the ICRC supports the Surgical and the Paediatric Wards of the Central Hospital in Huambo, for a range of 15'000 beneficiaries each. Furthermore, in the provinces of Huambo, Bié and Uige, the ICRC supports 12 Primary Health Care centres and promotes HIV/AIDS preventive action for a range of 300'000 beneficiaries, in collaboration with the national Red Cross Society (CVA) and the Ministry of Health.

Mine Action  

The ICRC continues to support three Ministry of Health rehabilitation centres, located in Luanda, Huambo and Kuito, and provides support to a range of 3'000 disabled persons from 7 provinces. Since the beginning of the ICRC's orthopaedic programme in Angola, over 15'000 amputees have been fitted with prostheses. From January to October 2002, over 1'400 mine victims have received prosteses in these rehabilitation centres.The development of ICRC technology contributes to an annual production of over 2'000 lower limb prostheses. The assistance provided covers technical and financial support to these 3 orthopaedic centres, including the manufacture and fitting of prostheses, as well as the manufacture and distribution of wheelchairs and crutches. All these services, including physiotherapy, transport and accommodation, are provided free of charge.

Water and Sanitation  

Well and spring protection is carried out by the ICRC in Kuito (Bié Province) for a range of 12'000 beneficiaries, and emergency sanitation programmes are provided to 28'000 persons. In collaboration with the national Red Cross Society (CVA), soap is distributed to 280'000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kuito and Huambo. In the Central Hospital in Huambo, the ICRC has supported the maintenance of the water and sewage system.

Non-food Items and Shelter  

20'000 families of internally displaced persons (IDPs), mainly in Huambo and Bié provinces, were given non-food items, in collaboration with the national Red Cross Society (Bié).

Preventive Action - Dissemination  

The ICRC actively promotes the dissemination of International Humanitarian Law and the principles of the Red Cross Movement to members of the armed forces, the police, traditional authorities and civilians, both through formal dissemination sessions (so far this year to over 6'100 arms carriers) and through more informal sessions and theatre presentations (to over 16'700 persons so far). Regular radio programmes in Luanda, Huambo and Kuito also contribute to the dissemination of these principles.