MSF with 23 feeding centres at Angola malnutrition crisis

MSF currently has 23 therapeutic feeding centres (TFCs) in operation in Angola, providing treatment for severely malnourished in 11 of the country's 18 provinces. The TFCs handle the most severe cases of malnutrition, when care must be provided with constant supervision.

MSF considers the current levels of malnutrition in Angola to be amongst the worst faced in all of Africa in the past decade. It is the result of a conflict that has spanned 27 years, with populations having become further and further isolated, cut off from any international assistance.

Famine regions have become commonplace. Seemingly with each exploration by MSF staff, new pockets of trapped and malnourished people have been found. Thousands of people are often in these areas, close to death and in desperate need of immediate aid.

Basing figures on freshly dug graves and other indicators, mortality rates have been estimated at between five to fourteen deaths per 10,000 people per day, depending on the region. The threshold for an emergency is just one death per 10,000 people per day.

In Galunge, an MSF rapid nutritional survey of 538 children under-5 indicated that more than 25% of the children screened - who were still alive - are suffering from severe malnutrition. A further 18% are suffering from moderate malnutrition. The global malnutrition rate was 42%.

Since the last peace in 1998, MSF has not been able to reach 90% of the country. Hundreds of thousands of people are now considered to be malnourished. Thousands have already died from lack of food and aid.

MSF raised attention to the current situation soon after the most recent peace accord was settled. Almost immediately, people strong enough to travel made their way to areas where aid organisations, and MSF, were active.

The condition of these refugees is abysmal. Malnutrition has been a constant. It also indicated that, if this was the condition of those strong enough to travel, the condition of those left behind would be worse.

MSF has been expanding its operations in the field, opening more therapeutic and supplementary feeding stations to handle the increasing numbers of people suffering from severe malnutrition. At the end of May, MSF teams were active in 11 of the country's 18 provinces.

In January 2002, there were 11 MSF TFCs caring for a total population of 1,196.

On May 17, In just five weeks after the peace accord was signed, the number of TFCs had increased to 22 with a total population of 3,486. The number increased again by May 26 with 23 TFCs and a total population of 3,732.