Angola: ICRC continues operations in post-conflict situation
31-03-2005 Operational Update
The following is an update on ICRC activities in Angola with figures mentioned covering the period from January to the end of March 2005.
Since the end of the conflict in 2002, a vast programme aimed at re-establishing family links and reuniting Angolans separated during the conflict has become the priority of the ICRC, in collaboration with the Angolan Red Cross (CVA). Since January 2005, 15'218 Red Cross Messages have been exchanged (342'429 since 2002) and 342 persons have opened new tracing requests to find the whereabouts of their loved ones.
Since 2002, the ICRC and the CVA have registered unaccompanied children and tried to reunify them with their parents. Since January 2005, 14 new unaccompanied children were registered (1'857 since 2002) and 32 unaccompanied children were reunited with their families, out of which 19 exclusively by the ICRC (1'060 since 2002, out of which 464 ex clusively by the ICRC).
The fourth edition of the GAZETA CRUZ VERMELHA, a book containing the identities of 18'393 of children and adults looking for, or being looked for by their relatives, was issued in March 2005.The GAZETA is a tool aimed at helping families and children to re-establish contacts with long lost relatives and to get news from missing loved ones. 3'000 copies of the GAZETA will circulate within Angola, Zambia, the DRC and Namibia, as well as in several countries with significant Angolan populations. To make the information available to the Angolan diaspora and national Red Cross Societies around the world, the list has also been published on the ICRC website .
Since March 2003, 615 sought children and adults have been located, out of which 302 re-established family contacts after consulting the Gazeta. Today, 18'687 persons (adults and children) are still sought by their relatives and 369 unaccompanied minors are still looking for their parents.
The ICRC supports three orthopaedic centres of the Ministry of Health in Huambo, Kuito and Luanda. Since 1979, when the ICRC started its activities in Angola, over 29,000 prostheses have been manufactured in these orthopaedic centres.
ICRC technical and financial support contributes to around 50% of the prosthetic and orthotic services currently provided in Angola. These services, which also include physiotherapy and accommodation, are available free of charge to the disabled, notably to mine victims. Since January 2005, 305 patients have received prostheses (76 % of which are mine victims) and 21 patients have received orthotic devices. Almost 600 pairs of crutches and 11 wheelchairs were distributed.
In addition to rehabilitation, the ICRC supports the CVA's mine risk education programme in the Provinces of Bié and Benguela.
The objective is to make communities affected by mines and other unexploded ordnance sensitive to the dangers. CVA volunteers work mainly with groups particularly at risk such as farmers, hunters and people collecting firewood.
The forty mine risk education volunteers visit approximately 30 villages every month. Their first task is to make sure that people understand how mines and unexploded ordnance affect them as they go about their daily and seasonal activities.
Following a discussion about the mine problem, the volunteers ask the villagers to identify exactly who is at risk in their community. The next stage involves the volunteers working with the groups at risk to agree an educational programme. With regular visits to mine affected villages, the CVA volunteers can support and help develop the communities'risk education initiatives. Moreover, they provide a valuable link with the mine clearance organisations. Knowing what information and advice people need, the CVA has started to work with the local radio in the mine-affected provinces so that mine safety messages are regularly broadcast.
Water and Sanitation
Activities are concentrated in Huambo and Bié provinces.
The ICRC implements projects including construction and rehabilitation and/or maintenance of spring catchments in rural areas. These projects aim at improving access to safe drinking water for the rural population, especially in regions where resettlements of refugees and IDP are significant.
Since January 2005, several spring catchments have been rehabilitated or maintained for around 30'000 beneficiaries. Training is given to the population on hygiene and on how to use and maintain these facilities.
The ICRC, jointly with the International Federation supports the internal reform process of the Cruz Vermelha de Angola (CVA). With a view to holding a General Assembly, the highest governing board of a national society, a C VA national council was organized and took place at the beginning of March 2005.
The aim of this council was to create appropriate commissions to assess the CVA's humanitarian activities in the last 5 years. Within its CVA capacity-building program, the ICRC works actively to strengthen the CVA's project management skills at national and provincial levels. The objective is to enable the CVA to perform these activities with its own financial and human resources.
Preventive Action - Dissemination
The ICRC actively promotes the dissemination of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the principles of the Red Cross Movement to members of the armed forces and the police, to the authorities and to civilians.
Since January, dissemination sessions have been conducted with around 1,130 arms carriers, as well as to more than 700 political, traditional and religious leaders, teachers and NGO workers.
Regular radio programmes in Huambo and Kuito also contributed to the dissemination of these principles. Since 2001, the ICRC, through its regional delegation in South Africa, has held an annual seminar that gathers parliamentarians, governmental representatives and other opinion makers from countries of the Southern African Development Community and representatives from Eastern Africa.