December 12, 2002

One million displaced people back home

One million displaced people have spontaneously returned to their areas of origin from April to November 2002, on Thursday, December 12, here announced the Social Welfare Minister, Joao Baptista Kussumua. He said so while opening the second meeting of the group for humanitarian coordination, during which was presented a report on the fulfilment of the 2002 Appeal and prospects for the year 2003.

According to him, early this year, the Government foresaw to support the returning and resettlement of about 550.000 people, till December, but, contrarily to its expectations, over one million have already returned to their areas of origin. The number of displaced living in camps and transit centres and in need of Government and humanitarian institution's support went down to less than three million out of the initial four million. In his opinion, the ending of hostilities also motivated the return of millions of Angolans who had been in the situation of refugees in neighbouring countries due to security reasons. Over 80.000 Angolan refugees have spontaneously returned home, during the current year. Minister Kussumua also mentioned that the priorities of the 2002 humanitarian work, mainly focused on emergency food assistance plus distribution of seeds and working tools.

On his turn, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Erick de Mull, said that although there are critical needs countrywide, two million people have been settled, through integrated programmes of assistance, including 460.000 people living in sheltering areas and about one million who became accessible to the humanitarian organisations, since the end of the war.

Meanwhile, although that one of million of people have returned to the areas of origins since April 2002, the conditions in most of these localities are not sustainable, what means that an increase in vulnerability amongst people can happen in the forthcoming months, mainly in the rainy season, he said. (Angola Press Agency, Luanda)

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