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Environment

Executive creates task force to monitor distribution of goods to drought victims

The government has set up a 'task force' to monitor the distribution of aid for drought victims in the south of the country, with 5176 tons of goods having been sent since 2019, 840 of them this year, it was announced Thursday.

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The announcement was made by the Minister of State for Social Affairs, Carolina Cerqueira, coordinator of a commission to monitor and respond to the drought in the south of the country, and the Minister of State and head of the President's Security House, Francisco Furtado.

Speaking to the press, Cerqueira said that the meeting served to analyze how the problems affecting some populations can be minimized, especially in the south and southeast regions, particularly in the municipalities of Curoca, Namibe province, Cahama, Cunene province, and Gambos, Huila province, "taking into account the forecasted worsening of the situation in the coming months, due to drought, as part of climate change that has been verified".

Carolina Cerqueira said that, despite the permanent efforts of immediate assistance to the affected populations, the climatic situation has shown to be cyclical, which requires intervention in a differentiated, structured and proximity approach, through the installation, temporarily, on site, of a 'task force' that, from the ground, can handle the logistics and monitor the distribution of the means that have been sent.

"(The means) are valued at more than 5176 tons since the year 2019," said the minister, pointing out that, this year alone, 840 tons of food have been sent to the southern region of the country.

The ruler stressed that these aids make up "a considerable financial total," which she did not advance, that has been guaranteed by the General State Budget (OGE).

Besides the State, the support also comes from charities and philanthropic actions from various social groups and civil society.

"But it should be emphasized that most of the expenses and food aid, in great quantity, have been financed by the OGE", he emphasized, informing that the 'task force' will have its command in Cahama, to guarantee the implementation of the strategy to mitigate the effects of the drought in the south of the country and the respective action plan.

The task force will be coordinated by the Interior Ministry's Civil Protection and Fire Services and will include personnel from the Angolan Armed Forces, representatives of the Ministries of Defense, Social Action, Family and Women's Promotion, Energy and Water, Agriculture and Fisheries, Health, Education, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry and technicians from various areas, in order to increase the range of specialists who will be dedicated to this issue.

According to Carolina Cerqueira, the 'task force' will have as its main tasks to ensure the development of logistical, operational and technical operations on the ground, in conjunction with local authorities and provincial governments.

The main action of the body will be the elaboration of a chronogram, with an action plan, with well defined deadlines for well identified target groups and the need to also establish which financial and logistic means should be available to carry out this entire operation.

The development of engineering actions, to retain and reduce the force of rainwater runoff, to ensure positive impacts on soil and enhance the development of local crops, the creation of cooperatives and technical assistance and planting of crops adapted to the climate situation are other tasks of this 'task force'.

"On the other hand, the task force will monitor the creation of water reserve infrastructures and measures to repair water holes, and pay special attention to the structural program that was launched on the right bank of the Cunene River, for which actions of great impact are being developed, both in terms of infrastructure and water needs at the local level," he said.

The task force will also provide planned assistance and distribution of food to drought affected populations, especially in the areas of food and means for their daily lives, health services, vaccination, primary health care monitoring, nutritional aspects and education.

The commission is also concerned about the issue of education, especially for nomadic groups, to be included in the education system, with special attention to girls in these drought-affected regions, so that they do not drop out of school.

"And for this these children will have to have special care from the point of view of nutrition, hygiene, and education for life, so that they feel valued and socially inserted," stressed the governor, defending the need to extend the guarantee of school lunches to children, as part of the program to combat poverty.

For the affected population, the 'task force' will also create mechanisms of distribution and supply of water, through motor cisterns and other easily accessible equipment.

In July, the representative of the World Food Program (WFP) in Angola, Michele Mussoni, who heads the office of that United Nations agency, told Lusa that the drought had affected not only the southern provinces, such as Namibe, Huíla and Cunene, but also Huambo, Benguela and Kwanza Sul.

At the time, he estimated that around 3.5 million people, or around 10 percent of the Angolan population, would be affected.

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