Angola Avante: The Survivor PopulationPosted: March 29, 2016
Angola has one of the highest populations of landmine survivors in the world but the exact number has never been known. The Landmine Monitor, the best source of data for survivor figures has simply said “Unknown; many thousands” (The Monitor). The Government of Angola has tried to survey the population and register the survivors to be able to provide programming in response to the needs. Some provinces were surveyed, but that process was discontinued after 2014 due to a lack of funds. Between 2010 and 2014, 9,165 survivors were identified in nine of Angola’s 18 provinces.
A new publication provides the best indication of the number of landmine survivors in Angola. In 2014, the government of Angola conducted its first national census since before independence (BBC News). In addition to being able to confirm the national population at just under 26 million (Reuters), the government has managed to produce a count of the landmine survivors in the country. According to the census, there are 88,716 landmine survivors in Angola (as of May 2014) (Instituto Nacional de Estatistica de Angola). The census also documents the number of persons with disabilities by types of disability which will provide the best source of data for programmatic needs for the community.
Let’s pause there. 88,716 landmine survivors. That does not include all of the people killed by landmines in Angola or the people who were injured and passed away before May 2014. Afghanistan has some 20,000 survivors and Cambodia has a little over 64,000 survivors which would make Angola’s survivor population the largest in the world.
This is Wembley Stadium in London.
You could fill almost every seat with Angola’s 88,716 landmine survivors.
Back to the discussion:
According to the census, almost half of the survivors life in three provinces: Luanda (23,839), Huila (10,233) and Huambo (8,588) and every province has at least a thousand survivors. Moxico province has the highest per capita population of survivors with 456 survivors for every 100,000 residents.
In terms of service provision, there are 28 rehabilitation centers in Angola, nine in Luanda alone. Nationally, there is one rehabilitation center per 3,169 survivors. Cunene, Zaire and Lunda Norte have no rehabilitation centers and while Zaire and Lunda Norte have some of the (relative to Angola) lowest concentrations of survivors, Cunene has the second highest prevalence. Huila (5,117 survivors per rehabilitation center) and Cuanza Sul (6,430 survivors per center) would also benefit from greater investment in rehabilitation infrastructure.
The census also addressed disability more generally, documenting 656,258 persons with disability in Angola, representing 2.5% of the population (global estimates of disability are 15% of the population so the Angolan figures are likely under-counting). Cunene and Moxico have the highest incidence of disability at over 3.1% of the provincial populations (see below figure, and remember that Cunene has no rehabilitation facilities).
In addition to landmines, the census identified other causes of disability including congenital, disease and other types of accidents.
The total of all causes (1,195,819) is double the number of persons with a disability so some double counting may be happening. Possible methodological problems aside, the 2014 Angola census represents the best estimate of Angola’s landmine survivor population and the disability community.
Michael P. Moore
March 29, 2016
moe (at) landminesinafrica (dot) org