Caritas to Help Angola Pick Up the Pieces After War

LUANDA, Angola, JULY 17, 2002 (( Caritas International, the network of Catholic relief and development organizations, will send a team to Angola to help the country deal with its postwar humanitarian crisis.

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Thirty years of civil war left 500,000 people dead and 3 million in a situation of urgent need. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, and many lack access to potable water or medical care. Damage to the harvest has escalated the rate of malnutrition.

Moreover, Angola is studded with 15 million land mines, which create obstacles to humanitarian aid and the return to cultivation of the land. One out of every 334 inhabitants has suffered an amputation due to explosives.

An end to hostilities was decreed last April, reinforced by the Angolan government’s recent ratification of the international treaty prohibiting the production and use of antipersonnel mines.

But the arrival of demobilized soldiers and their families in camps for the displaced is putting pressure on food reserves and health conditions.

Caritas International’s emergency management team will collaborate with Caritas-Angola in its program for national reconstruction. The team includes Caritas experts from Angola, Germany, Spain, Mozambique and the Czech Republic.

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