With the signing of a
ceasefire agreement in April 2002, Angola ended a 27-year
civil war that killed half a million people and displaced
some 4 million. Today, hundreds of people are leaving the
bush, where they had taken refuge from the conflict, living
on little more than nothing. But for every person who survived
Africa's longest-running bush war, there are unknown thousands
who did not.
Despite the fragile peace, the country
continues to suffer, with half a million Angolans experiencing
some degree of starvation and more than 1 million others completely
dependent on food aid for survival, according to the United
Nations. In addition, about a third of all Angolans have been
displaced, losing touch with loved ones.
The needs are immense and have prompted
a massive mobilization of humanitarian assistance, made even
more urgent by the absence of food aid from the government.
Fortunately, the security situation has improved considerably
enabling humanitarian organizations to reach areas previously
For the Movement, the challenge is
huge. At present, it is focusing its efforts on supporting
the Angola Red Cross, providing medical assistance and restoring
family links. The ICRC - as lead agency - the Federation,
the Angola Red Cross and several National Societies are working
in a coordinated manner to help the most vulnerable populations.
Jean-François Berger and Jean