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UN: Aid Reaching Previously Inaccessible Areas of Angola

United Nations humanitarian agencies say they are now able to get assistance to thousands of additional needy people in Angola. The relief agencies are making a big push into areas in Angola that were formerly inaccessible because of fighting between UNITA rebels and government troops.

The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, says Angola has the second highest mortality rate in the world for children under the age of five. One child dies in Angola every three minutes.

UNICEF spokeswoman Wivina Belmonte says the agency wants to help drastically cut that rate with its measles vaccination campaign aiming to reach 150,000 children in previously inaccessible areas in Angola.

"Measles is the first cause of vaccine-preventable mortality in Angola," she said. "It especially kills children with reduced immunity such as malnourished children who have been displaced due to the fighting. So really, the children that we are targeting over the next several weeks are exactly those kinds of children that we are talking about."

Jean-Philippe Chauzy of the International Organization for Migration says the agency is aiding U.N. efforts to deliver badly needed non-food assistance to families of about 65,000 former UNITA fighters who have surrendered their weapons.

"We are coordinating and we will obviously very rely heavily on our U.N. partners to make sure this assistance reaches those most in need as quickly as possible," he said.

A cease-fire agreement in April between government and UNITA rebels ending 27 years of conflict is now permitting aid to flow in Angola.