Threat of Potential Hunger Gap in Angola
In Angola today, around one million citizens may be at risk of lacking sufficient food resources for a period of some months. Despite the acute risk neither the Government of Angola nor the international community has responded in the least, thereby increasing the risk.
The nutritional situation in the Plano Alto regions of Angola, in particular, is deteriorating dramatically. Furthermore, following 30 years of the country's civil war, there has sadly been decreasing international attention or support for finalizing a peace process. This absence of focus on the part of the international community generally acts in parallel with the lack of ability and political will on the part of the Angolan Government itself. Together this atmosphere of failure is only aggravating the effects of heavy early rainfalls that have already destroyed the majority of the Angolan harvests.
In real terms, this means that the present rate of production of corn, beans and sweet potato will not be enough to cover the needs of the population into the future. In other words, from April 2004 until November 2005, around one million Angolan citizens will face a period of food insecurity, to say the least. Insofar as the farming population has harvested prematurely the fear exists that they will lose the crop altogether. Another consequence is that they will lack seeds for planting for the next season.
The Angolan civil war ended officially in 2002, and the displaced in Angola started the process of return and resettlement in their places of origin. Although Angola has seemed to enter a positive process of transition, there are still pockets where emergency conditions still exist and in the rural areas there is a high vulnerability of complete collapse and the failure of all efforts at development. The country is committed to the implementation of a peace process. But the Government's efforts are woefully insufficient. Lacking above all are the political will and the supply of financial and other resources needed to support the most vulnerable segments of the populations. There is too much reliance on the efforts of the international community which is not only apathetic - they are actually withdrawing their contributions.
There is therefore a risk of a potential crisis. The Action Against Hunger team in Angola has already identified the risk in 3 thorough food security reports. Consequently, Action Against Hunger calls on the Angolan Government and the international community, particularly the relevant UN agencies to respond to this potential crisis through:
- Supporting the distribution of foodstuffs during the hunger gap period which has been identified from the present through November 2004
- Supporting the re-activation of productive agricultural activities, though the distribution of seeds from the present through August 2004
Action Against Hunger will continue our in depth identification and treatment of cases of malnutrition, monitor the risk of food insecurity and nutritional insufficiency and respond to the best of our ability to reduce the impact of the potential hunger gap.