April 2, 2004

WFP: Food crisis to worsen / World Bank to grant US$ 33 million for social welfare

The U.N.'s World Food Programme (WFP) will be forced to stop all cereal food aid to
1.9 million Angolans by June if international donors do not give more money, the agency has announced. According to a WFP representative, the assessment was made after it had been forced to cancel a shipment of 19.000 tonnes of U.S. corn following Angola's decision to ban the importation of genetically modified food. The U.N. body said it would have to cut rations by 30 percent in April and May, and 50 percent thereafter, however, as a WFP spokesperson said, the ship's cancellation had put an even greater strain on resources.

International donors have so far only provided 24 percent of the $143 million needed for 1.9 million Angolans. If donors gave cash funding soon, the U.N. body said it could quickly source food from regional producers such as South Africa, where the corn price has returned to competitive levels after spiking on drought fears over December and January. World Food Programme regional director for southern Africa, Mike Sacket, said that Angolans were unlikely to starve but that newly resettled families could face an even more precarious existence because of the shortfall. The WFP plans to pump 400.000 tonnes of food aid into Angola over the next two years, 75 percent of it maize, with pulses, oil and corn-soy blend making up the balance.

Meanwhile it has been announced that the World Bank (WB) will donate around US$ 33 million for the social reintegration of 110.000 UNITA's ex-soldiers and of about 30.000 demobilised soldiers from the National Army. According to the statement, the Government assumed the whole demobilisation process with personal funds, having made available for the effect about US$ 155 million for nourishment at resettlement areas in the last two years. Besides it has also provided for the acquisition of resettlement kits, payment of five months salary, attribution of subsidies of contingency and transportation of ex-soldiers and their families to their destined areas. The Standing Commission equally reviewed the report on de-mining activities carried out in February, as well as the levels of landmines spread in each province. In the referred period, the conclusion of de-mining process at Mabubas dam (northern Bengo province), in the outskirts of Ndalatando Provincial Hospital, Zanza do Itombe/Dondo (north Kwanza-Norte province) railway line and Upper Chicapa (north east Lunda-Sul province) have been stressed. (Angola Press Agency, Luanda)

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