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WFP Warns Of Bleak Future For Angolan Children

The World Food Program is warning that Angola’s children are “paying a heavy price for under funded humanitarian operations in the country.” It says at least 45-percent of all children in Angola are severely malnourished – while, overall, 850-thousand people face chronic food insecurity.

The WFP says it needs $30 million in emergency funds, adding that if those funds are not received, rations will have to be cut. Michael Huggins is the WFP spokesperson for southern Africa.

From Johannesburg, South Africa, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about conditions in Angola. He says, “It’s a very bleak outlook. Right now, the World Food Program is facing quite a dramatic shortfall in funding for programs across the country. And many of those programs actually focus on children. We are feeding hundreds of thousands of kids in school. And we’re also treating malnutrition related diseases that affect children.”

Although Angola’s civil war is over, the country still faces many humanitarian problems. Mr. Huggins says, “There are several problems in Angola. One is the international perception that the government should be doing more. The war in Angola finished about three years ago and, by far and large, the government has been extremely preoccupied in trying to meet many of the obligations it has when a country after 30 years of war goes back to peacetime. Much of the country’s infrastructure is totally destroyed. There are very few roads that you can use. There are very few health facilities and schools that are operational. And at the same time you’ve had two and a half million people return back to Angola over the last two years. So the government has been turning its attention to many competing demands inside the country and is now beginning to look at the social services sector.”

In a statement, the WFP says, “At least 45 percent of all children in Angola are severely malnourished, and in the central highlands up to 52 percent of the under five-year-olds are stunted, a condition which irreversibly affects their ability to live a fully productive life.