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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Thousands dying of hunger in Angola
Angola's displaced people
Many Angolans have been displaced by the war
An international aid agency says it has found about 18,000 people dying of starvation at a remote village in Angola.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said its assessment team in the area found that the south-western village of Chipindo was isolated and without adequate food supplies.

The agency described the situation in Chipindo as dramatic, saying a mortality rate among children under five was five times higher than the emergency thresholds.

"We have seen hardly any little children under five. Lots of them had already died. A whole hill has been covered with fresh graves since September."

The MSF said the severe malnutrition rate among the children was 35%, and significant numbers of adults were also malnourished.

Emergency operation

The agency said it started an emergency operation on Thursday by sending two trucks of food and medical emergency equipment which would be distributed immediately amongst the children.

The MSF also said a therapeutic feeding centre and health centre would be opened to treat the most severely malnourished and ill.

We have seen hardly any little children under five. Lots of them had already died


It said a dozen children in immediate need of care have already been taken to the MSF hospital in the nearby Caala.

The MSF said the civilians had been moved from their homes between September and March by Angolan government forces, where they had no access to their farmland or to food aid.

It said Chipindo was the fourth place in need of immediate aid since the agency has been able to send its missions to Angola's provinces at the beginning of February.

This followed a ceasefire between the government forces and the rebel Unita movement, bringing to an end 27 years of civil war which claimed the lives of at least 500,000 people.

See also:

04 Apr 02 | Africa
Angola to end civil war
09 Aug 99 | Africa
African famine alert
07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Angola
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