News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
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A Washington-based advocacy group last week accused the Angolan government of not doing enough to help millions of its people in dire need of food and shelter. In a report titled 'Poor people in a rich government's country', Refugees International (RI) pointed to the glaring discrepancy between how much the government received in revenue, from mainly petroleum sales, and how much it had pledged for humanitarian assistance.

The report said World Bank figures put the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at close to US $9 billion, yet Angola ranks 161 out of 173 countries on the Human Development Index of 2002. Some NGOs have alleged that the lack of transparency and the government's over expenditure on military build-up, during almost three decades of civil war, may have contributed to the current situation.

RI said more than half of Angolans were undernourished and maternal and child mortality was estimated to be the second highest in the world. Recent assessments estimate that close to 3 million people in Angola are in need of urgent food aid. "In need of food and medical care, mothers walk for three days to receive one and a half pounds [less than a kilogram] of corn flour. Therapeutic feeding centres in the provinces are full. Mortality rates in the newly accessible areas are 5.7 per 10,000 per day, two and half times greater than the emergency threshold for children under five," the report said.

Cote d'Ivoire

An action plan to assist Liberian refugees in western Cote d'Ivoire in the areas of health and environmental sanitation has been put in place, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies reported on 7 August. It resulted from collaboration between the National Red Cross Society and the Federation's regional delegation, the Federation said in its latest bulletin. It consists of vaccination, the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, malaria and epidemics, and environmental sanitation and hygiene. The national society plans to send 30 volunteers on a door-to-door campaign to check the vaccination status of children aged below 23 months, make public presentations encouraging vaccination, and mobilise community leaders to help, the Federation said.

The Red Cross said it hoped to have volunteers educate young people on how to prevent STDs, HIV/AIDS . An awareness campaign on preventing malaria by using treated mosquito nets, and on preventing epidemics would target some 6,000 households. (Source: IRIN)


Health officials in Madagascar on 9 August said a flu outbreak that had claimed the lives of hundreds of people, was now under control. Already 417 people have died from the virus identified as a severe strain of influenza A, according to the health ministry. The epidemic mostly affected Tamatave in the east of the country and Fianarantsoa in the south. Fianarantsoa is the poorest province in the country with records levels of malnourishment. "Contrary to what we thought, the outbreak began in June and not July. This would account for the increase in the death toll since last week," Andre Ndiguyeze, World Health Organisation Resident Representative, told IRIN.

Meanwhile, international experts in epidemiology and infectious diseases arrived in Fianarantsoa on Wednesday. The team is expected to advise local health authorities on how to manage the epidemic and improve medical care. Symptoms of the virus include severe headaches, neck and chest pains, and a dry cough. (Source: IRIN)


A spokesman for President Olusegun Obasanjo said on 7 August that the Nigerian head of state would not heed a motion by the country's House of Representatives for him to resign within two weeks or face impeachment. "I will continue to serve Nigeria. The president will not be diverted from his responsibility to the nation," Obasanjo was quoted as saying in a statement signed by spokesman Tunji Oseni. But radical lawyer Gani Fawehinmi, leader of the unregistered National Conscience Party, said the president's impeachment was long overdue. "Obasanjo has committed so many unconstitutional acts. His impeachment could have been done earlier than now," he told reporters on 7 August. "To give him notice is just being nice to him."

For the president to be removed from office, two-thirds of the members of both legislative chambers must support impeachment.The controversial step taken by the representatives is the latest twist in a power struggle between Obasanjo and the legislature that has marked his three-year reign. The dispute has stalled the implementation of the 2002 budget and grounded most government activities, leaving civil service salaries unpaid for months.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate had tried before, without success, to impeach the president. Most analysts think the latest effort is also unlikely to succeed, and may only serve to raise the stakes ahead of general elections due early next year.

Fears are rife that the vote will be characterised by electoral violence as occurred during the build-up to local elections, first postponed from May to August and then indefinitely. (Source: IRIN)


International aid agencies lack coordination when dealing with long-term assistance for internally displaced and returnee populations in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, says a report from the United Nations Coordination Unit/Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNCU/OCHA).. As a result, the "little assistance" delivered to the region to date had been on an ad hoc basis. This meant that the prospect of as many as 80,000 returnees to Somaliland arriving over the next two years was raising "grave concerns" with regard to increased social and economic pressures on both local authorities and resident populations.

UNCU/OCHA recommended that any further assistance for internally displaced persons (IDPs), particularly those in Dima camp in the Somaliland capital, Hargeysa, should be conducted with the consultation of the IDPs themselves, as complaints regarding the diversion of relief supplies by local authorities had been lodged. It was also necessary to establish a system of monitoring and evaluating the delivery of any relief supplies. (Source: IRIN)

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