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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 08:20 GMT 09:20 UK
'Half a million face starvation' in Angola
Woman with rat for the pot
People have got used to eating whatever they can find
A medical charity has accused the Angolan Government of criminal and chronic negligence of its own people, which it said had left nearly half a million Angolans facing starvation.


The world is consciously allowing Angolans to die of hunger

MSF president Morten Rostrup

Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) said at a news conference in Luanda that malnutrition in Angola was the worst its staff had seen since Sudan's devastating famine several years ago.

It accused the Angolan Government, and the United Nations, of responding too slowly to the crisis, in a way that it said was totally unacceptable.

A ceasefire in the civil war agreed in April has given aid workers access to new areas - revealing the extent of the food shortages.

A UN delegation is currently in Angola to assess the plight of people displaced by the war and check on progress towards demobilising the former rebels.

Starvation and Disease

"The world is consciously allowing Angolans to die of hunger," Dr Morten Rostrup, president of MSF international, said in a statement in Luanda.

"If the Angolan authorities, the UN agencies, the international community and the donor countries don't respond immediately to this crisis... nearly half a million Angolans are threatened by starvation and diseases.

Malnourished boy
MSF says the response to the food crisis in Angola has been slow and insufficient

"We have abandoned Angolans in the past, let's not abandon them today when peace gives us a chance to help them."

Correspondents say despite its mineral wealth, much of Angola is in ruins after almost three decades of civil war.

Angola exports more oil to the United States than Kuwait.

Angola's government and the Unita rebel group agreed in April to stop fighting and negotiate a peace settlement after the death in combat of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.

Angola is among half a dozen countries in southern Africa facing severe food shortages caused by drought and floods as well as wars and bad policies.

Aid workers have warned that up to 13 million people could be affected in the region.


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16 May 02 | Africa
23 May 02 | Africa
05 Apr 02 | Country profiles
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