Severe food crisis in Camacupa, Angola
9 May 2001
MSF press release, Luanda, Brussels 9 May - For several months, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has faced a high increase of malnutrition in the Bié Province, in the center of Angola. Over the past six weeks, MSF has referred more than 400 severely malnourished children from the Camacupa municipality to the MSF therapeutic feeding centres (TFCs) in Kuito. The capacity of these TFCs has been increased from the initial 300 beneficiaries to 800 beneficiaries to cope with the sharp increase in admissions. MSF is also starting a supplementary feeding program for the moderately malnourished children in Camacupa. The initial capacity will be for 500 children but, in light of the levels of malnutrition, it is expected to increase rapidly to over 2,000 beneficiaries. In addition, MSF has also observed a serious problem of malnutrition among the adult population. The population which has been displaced due to the chronic conflicts in the country is the most affected by the malnutrition. Among the displaced population living in Camacupa town, rates of 28% global malnutrition and 11% severe malnutrition were found. This is well above the emergency thresholds. The mortality rate is extremely high, with figures reaching three deaths per day per 10.000 people (for children under 5 the death rate is 5.4 per 10.000 children). A provincial health delegation conducted a nutritional screening in the Kuemba displaced site and got catastrophic results, with 46% global malnutrition and 19% severe malnutrition. Those figures are among the highest seen in Angola over the past years. To succeed in bringing the mortality down, MSF efforts should be accompanied by a general food distribution to an estimated affected population of 25,000 to 50,000 persons. "We are really shocked by the level of malnutrition that we are discovering in Camapuca. We are doing as much as we can to reduce mortality through our feeding centres, but this is not enough: people need urgently a general food distribution.", said Erwin Van der Borght, head of mission in Angola. If such a general food distribution does not start very soon, the feeding centres will become rapidly overloaded and will face many re-admissions.