Angola´s Crisis Prompts Papal Plea

500,000 People Malnourished, Group Says

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 9, 2002 ( John Paul II called attention to Angola´s “dramatic humanitarian crisis,” one of the worst in Africa in the past decade.

Following 27 years of civil war, Angola is facing “a dramatic humanitarian crisis because of the lack of food and of the most elementary medical care, and because of the constant danger of anti-personnel mines scattered over the whole territory,” the Pope said after his Angelus address today, to the faithful gathered in St. Peter´s Square.

The Pope, who visited Angola in 1992, appealed for prayers so that “the Lord will enlighten all those who have the possibility to contribute to surmounting this tragedy.”

He urged the mobilization of the international community, and of Angolans themselves, “so that the country´s resources may be useful to all its inhabitants and be a help to the whole of Africa.”

In areas where the army and rebels of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) have clashed, malnutrition is among the worst seen in Africa in the past decade, according to the group Doctors Without Frontiers.

From 1998 until a few weeks ago, when peace was attained, these areas did not benefit from the food and health support given by the international community, the doctors group said in a recent report. A half-million Angolans are “in desperate conditions” because of malnutrition, it said.

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