After 30 years, WFP ends food aid to Angola

Published on 13 October 2006

WFP has said that a lack of funding had prompted it to wind down all its food aid operations in Angola by the end of the year, after three decades of direct involvement in the country.

WFP has said that a lack of funding had prompted it to wind down all its food aid operations in Angola by the end of the year, after three decades of direct involvement in the country.

A drop in donor support has spurred us to speed up the handover process

Sonsoles Ruedas, WFP’s Acting Country Director in Angola

WFP has started discussions with the Government of Angola about the possibility of handing over any remaining food stocks for distribution by competent state institutions to store, transport and distribute the food aid.

WFP has at least 13,200 tons of commodities in warehouses in Lobito and Luanda.

Less donor support

“WFP’s aim has always been to hand over responsibility for food assistance and development support to the Government of Angola,” said Sonsoles Ruedas, WFP’s Acting Country Director in Angola.

“A drop in donor support has spurred us to speed up the handover process,” he said.

“We plan to scale back to a small office in Luanda, which will provide only technical assistance to the Government, starting in 2007.”

Current operation

WPF’s current operation, valued at US$90 million, was launched in April 2006 with plans to run until March 2009.

However, contributions to date total just US$19.5 million, a shortfall of 78 percent.

Beneficiaries

In September, WFP began suspending food distributions to 700,000 Angolans, among them 220,000 children in school-feeding programmes.

Other beneficiaries include pregnant and nursing women, children under the age of five and people suffering from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and pellagra.

The world’s largest humanitarian agency arrived in Angola in 1976 to deliver food aid across the country to people stranded and displaced by the civil war.

Reconstruction and repatriation

When the war ended in 2002, WFP assisted with the long process of reconstruction and repatriation of Angolan refugees, which is still continuing.

More than 80,000 refugees are expected to return home from camps in Zambia, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In addition to the WFP food stocks currently in Lobito and Luanda, another 3,800 tons of food are due to arrive in the country shortly.

WFP has funding to provide 3,000 tons of food aid to the returnee programme.

Safety net projects

“More recently, our goal has been to help the Government build up capacity to establish its own safety net projects to help alleviate some of the suffering of the poorest,” Ruedas said.

“The Government had already begun to take over school-feeding across the country. Angola has been at peace for over four years but de-mining the countryside and replacing infrastructure is a time-consuming process.”

WFP’s air transport service for the humanitarian community will close down at the end of November 2006.

Another project, to reconstruct bridges in resettlement areas in the east of the country, has funding that will allow it to continue until the end of January 2007.