CANADEM's Humanitarian Response in Angola
~ Logistics in Crisis ~
Prabhu Govindaraj with WFP in Angola
Emergency Logistics Officer
My name is Prabhu Govindaraj. I was seconded to WFP by CANADEM for 6 months (May to Nov 2022) in Angola. First off, I was sent to Ondjiva, the capital of Cunene to join the team of two nutritionists who were managing the whole operation. After two weeks of presence, the team of nutritionists left to another office and left me alone in that underdeveloped place, with only the most basic items available, very bad network, very low cash availability, harsh weather, difficult road conditions to the field, but continued to support the people who needed the most.
Upon taking up the whole operation, I was the only person to coordinate with suppliers, coordinate with partners to communicate with beneficiaries, organize with transporters, fuel up the trucks and cars, arrange to load the trucks from the supplier and follow the trucks to the distribution point. With the help of national partner, we were able to distribute to 2,574 families which is 18,018 individuals in most remote areas.
In total, we completed three cycles of distribution to vulnerable people in southern Angola - Cunene. At the end of 3rd cycle distributions in the Namacunde region, people (beneficiaries) showed signs of improvement and their happiness showed us that our distribution positively benefited the vulnerable people. Quantity can be measured in numbers but quality can only be experienced.
In the Curoca region, I was not allowed to travel as the roads were being cleared for mines, but I managed to travel with the UN Mission and visited the areas for distribution. In RuaCana in Curoca district, we distributed it to people as per the group, but from one village people came a day earlier and were waiting to get the food.
After spending the night at the distribution site, the nomad group came to receive their ration and thanked the group distributing and made jokes to people and left the site.
Most times, it was not possible to have your breakfast or lunch but we still made sure to distribute food to people. In Cunene, we spent hours saving days to ensure our distributions are carried out without any challenges. During the whole operation, I managed to save 87% of donor money for transportation. Despite the challenges encountered, the immense level of satisfaction is overwhelming at the end of the day in distributing food to vulnerable people.
The meeting with the same village people: The people of a small group of about 14 families came and sat at the distribution site for hours. After talking to them by myself with an interpreter, I came to know that they all came a day earlier to see the distribution and they will stay the whole night before they could benefit from the distribution. So, the group of ladies with their young children stayed the whole night at the RuaCana distribution site. This group belongs to the Vatwa tribe from the Curoca region, who are basically nomads of different tribes.