Global perspective Human stories

Despite good prospects for peace, Angola urgently needs aid, UN official says

Despite good prospects for peace, Angola urgently needs aid, UN official says

Kenzo Oshima
Despite enjoying markedly improved security, Angola still urgently requires international assistance to overcome the effects of three decades of war, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator said today, as he concluded a trip to the southern African nation.

"It is clear that prospects for peace are better now than at any time before," said Kenzo Oshima. "At the same time, Angola needs the active support of the international community to complement its own efforts to overcome the political, humanitarian and socio-economic challenges in order to consolidate peace."

Reporting on discussions he held with government ministers on Thursday, Mr. Oshima said agreement had been reached on moving into a new stage of partnership between the UN and Angola. "We will explore ways to further strengthen our collaboration so that all Angolans can benefit from the 'peace dividend,'" he said.

Painting a grim picture of Angola's "dire" humanitarian needs, Mr. Oshima said up to 3 million people - one fourth of the country's population - would require some form of relief aid in the months ahead. "Many of these people need urgent assistance - food, health services, medicines - and I call upon the donor community to be generous in its response to those needs," he explained.

Next week, Mr. Oshima will brief donors meeting in Geneva on the situation in Angola, while later this month, the UN will launch a new consolidated appeal for the country. These efforts, he said, aim to "help the people of Angola consolidate peace and national reconciliation and move into normalcy which will allow for the reconstruction and development of Angola."

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today reported that an estimated 10,000 Angolan refugees have spontaneously left Zambia since the ceasefire in Angola in March this year. The movement is continuing on a small scale every day, according to UNHCR staff in Zambia.

Zambia is host to 225,000 Angolan refugees, including some 81,000 in four UNHCR camps, according to the agency. In all, there are 470,000 Angolan refugees in the region, mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Namibia. UNHCR estimates that as many as 80,000 Angolans could spontaneously return from neighbouring countries before the end of this year.