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Angola: ICRC reunites orphans with uncle

30-11-2001 News Release 01/47

The ICRC recently helped six Angolan orphans, the youngest of whom is barely two months old, to be reunited with their uncle in Huambo province.

The children's parents had fled Bailundo, a town in Huambo on the central Planalto, because of the conflicts that devastated the region in the 1990s. They first went to the capital, Luanda, but soon realized that they could not remain there because of the high cost of living. They left for Ambriz, in Bengo province, where they started a small coal business.

All went well until one day last year when unknown assailants abducted the father. The mother then had to take care of the family and business all on her own. Exhausted, she died on 1 October, leaving her six children alone in the world. They did however have an uncle, Sameti, in Huambo. He was eager to take them into his own family but could not afford to pay for their air travel. Security conditions are currently so poor that there could be no question of fetching them by car. Then he had another idea: he made a family reunification request to the ICRC, which was immediately accepted.

When they arrived at Huambo airport aboard an ICRC aircraft, the children were obviously elated to be with their uncle once again. To help out Sameti, whose family suddenly had six more members, the ICRC gave clothing, blankets and other essential items to the orphans.