MSF mourns loss of life in Angola land mine incident
10 December 2002
The incident took place 36 kilometres from Mavinga, Angola, an isolated city in south-east of the country where MSF has been conducting medical and nutritional emergency activities since June 2002. The team was returning to its base in Mavinga, after a day of providing measles vaccinations in a village in the north of Mavinga province. Among the dead and injured were MSF employees who have worked with us from the very start of our activities in this zone and were recruited specifically to look after malnourished children and to fight a dysentery epidemic during these last months. It is with much sadness that we mourn and deplore the deaths of six of our colleagues as well as a little boy - a child of one of the fatalities. The funeral took place on November 30 in Mavinga, followed by a traditional ceremony three days later. Eric Linder, the president of Médecins Sans Frontieres Switzerland, travelled to the area to be at the side of the survivors, families and MSF team. The deceased are: Domingos Nbumba, principal of the Mavinga school and an MSF staff member. As the school had not yet started, Domingos had worked with MSF since the beginning of the dysentery epidemic - another manner of engaging with the children. He recorded the children in the isolation centre. Josefina Afanso, MSF staff member. Josefina worked with MSF from the beginning of the dysentery epidemic: She supervised the condition of the patients in the isolation centre. During the vaccination campaign she administered with vitamin A to the children. Chitula Ngamba, MSF staff member. Chitula treated children suffering from malnutrition in our feeding program in Mavinga. During the vaccination campaign, she also dealt with the registration of people. Her mother, Florinda, works for MSF as a cook in the therapeutic feeding centre. Chitula leaves behind a small girl, Felicia Lucia, wounded at the time of the accident. Joaquina Kasse, MSF staff member. Joaquina also worked in our feeding programme in Mavinga. The daughter of Rufina, our cook, she had taken part in a nutritional investigation and, during the vaccination campaign, dealt with the recording and the nutritional follow-up of the children. Pricila Filipe, Ministry of Health staff member. Pricila worked at the Mavinga hospital. During the program, she was vaccinating patients. She died en route to the hospital where she works. Ana Maria Nacafeca, Ministry of Health staff member. Ana Maria also worked at the Mavinga hospital and was conducting vaccinations throughout the countryside. Her small son Antonio Lumbaca also died. Seriously injured: Salome Nane, Jambela Ester, Dulce Sangumba, Jacinta Wendo, Albino Chikukulo and Felicia Lucia, (daughter of Chitula Ngamba who was killed in the explosion) were seriously wounded and transferred to the hospital in the capital, Luanda, where they are receiving care. They are all health professionals working for MSF or the Angolan Ministry of Health. During the past week, their health has improved considerably.