Armenia Situation Report No. 13
- DHA presents the Post Appeal Framework to donors in Geneva;
- Government of Japan provides Yen 400,000,000 for agricultural development
- Attention drawn to poor state of Armenias water and sewage systems
On 3 July DHA presented the Post Appeal Framework: Linking Humanitarian Needs and Development Strategies (PAF) document to a donor meeting held in Geneva. The response from the donor community noted the document was an innovative approach to illustrating humanitarian needs in a development context. The PAF document highlights the end of the humanitarian emergency situation in each of the three south Caucasus countries whilst highlighting the fact that humanitarian needs remain and continue to need to be addressed by the international community as the region travels down the path to development. In Armenia DHA will be working on the consolidation of information related to outstanding humanitarian needs through the elaboration of a Humanitarian Assistance Matrix. This is designed to provide donors, operational agencies and the Government with a country-wide perspective on humanitarian activity in the country as well as gaps that exist in terms of humanitarian provision. In the spirit of the PAF it will also highlight development-related initiatives designed to mitigate humanitarian needs.
The bad weather conditions which have been affecting Armenia and Azerbaijan continued during July. Further heavy rains in the Goris region on 3 and 5 July compounded the problems faced by the city after the heavy rains of 22 June. Contributions from the Government of the United Kingdom, ECHO, UNHCR, UNICEF, ICU, UMCOR, OXFAM, the Jenishian Foundation and DHA have provided sufficient funds to meet the emergency needs related to water, sewage and immediate health issues. The situation in other regions of the country, with a particular focus on Syunik, Gerharkyunik, Tavoush and Aragatsotn regions, are in the process of being assessed by the local authorities and international organisations. Damage to crops and infrastructure are of particular concern with an expectation that some food assistance may be required this winter and replacement seed for spring planting will be needed in 1998. Information gathering is ongoing.
An earthquake in the Noyemberian region on 17 July, registering 6 on the local scale, caused some infrastructural damage. Assessment reports received from MSF Belgium indicate that some houses received minor infrastructural damage. The situation was compounded on 24 and 26 July by heavy rains. To date no request for assistance has been received from the Government.
A two-day working meeting related to the shadow economy was held at the Department of Statistics, State Register and Analysis, with the participation of experts from Italy, the Netherlands, OECD, and several CIS countries. The shadow economy in Armenia is estimated to be between the levels of 40 to 53 percent, Edward Aghajanov, Minister of the Statistics Department said. Currently a survey is being conducted in the country, and more precise data will be published in a year. The Minister noted that Armenia is the only country among the CIS member states which is attending to this problem at the governmental level. The programme is financed by several international organisations, mainly Eurostat and UNDP.
The number of pensioners registered in 1996 at the Ministry of Social Welfare (MoSW) decreased by 35,000 as compared with the previous year (in 1995 - 641,852, in 1996 - 607,111). Similar changes are due to the pension law adopted in December 1995, under which in 1997 the pension age was established at 61 for men and 56 for women. As reported by the Head of the Pension Department at the MoSW, these changes were also determined by economic conditions, migration flows and unavailability of people to be registered and receive pensions.
The Armenian Social Investment Fund (ASIF), which is currently the only such fund of the World Banks social programmes in CIS (others are in the process of being established), is to open a regional training-centre for the countries of Central Europe and Asia. Speaking at a seminar in Washington, Gagik Khachatrian, Director of ASIF, described the peculiarities of implementing social programmes in CIS countries relating to the existence of social infrastructure, which requires only renovation or reconstruction. Additionally, a high level of education in the CIS countries allows community members to take an active part in the Funds work, as well as planning projects and overseeing their implementation. Mr. Khachatrian also noted that the developed state of industry allows implementation of programmes at a relatively high qualitative standard.
Operations on the reconstruction of the Meghri-Kapan road, which is the only connecting route between the town and the rest of the country, have started with provision of funding by the World Bank.
Presentation of a programme The Role of Public Organisations in the Process of Democracy and Civil Society Building took place at the House of Journalists on 16 July. The programme, which was initiated by several national NGOs, was aimed at increasing civil and legal knowledge of the citizens, and establishment and strengthening of community public organisations.
SECTORAL SUMMARY OF EVENTS
DHA attended the WFP-chaired Food Aid Coordination meeting held on 10 July. Fridrikh Badeyan, Head of the Working Group of the Humanitarian Assistance Commission (HAC) made a presentation on summer camps. During the summer months some 5,000 children will be accommodated in 12 camps organised by the Government. Local authorities and several public/non-governmental organisations are also organising summer camps throughout the country. In addition to the aforementioned some 35,000-37,000 children will spend their summer holidays in 132 camps. The food assistance and financial support from the international community in Armenia were highly appreciated. Mr. Badeyan also touched upon the topic of floods occurring in almost all the regions of the country. He appealed the international organisations to render assistance to the affected populations.
A presentation of the bulletin for 1996 of the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) of the US Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church took place at the Armenian Office of FAR. USD 25,447,000 was spent on implementation of all FAR projects in 1996, from which USD 22,676,000 related to the cost of food commodities distributed among some 2,200,000 people in the country. According to Simon Balian, Executive Director, FAR will continue its current food assistance projects throughout 1997, and start implementing new ones. He also said that the United States has cut by one-third its funds to the FAR in 1997, which will considerably affect the food programme implementation.
Kotayk marz underwent a powerful attack of locusts. Over 10,000 hectares of natural pastures were destroyed. The problem is being resolved at the governmental level.
Unusually heavy precipitations continued to affect the economy and agriculture of the country. The worst affected areas are Siunik, Vayots Dzor and Gegharkunik regions.
The Irrigation Rehabilitation Project, funded by the World Bank (USD 43 million), IFAD and the Government, has been operating in the country already for three years. Under the project primary and secondary canals, pump-stations and reservoirs are being repaired. According to the project head Adibek Ghazarian, USD 15 million out a of total USD 57 million has already been spent and USD 3 million more is expected to be spent by the end of this year. An international tender is announced for carrying out the USD 12 million of construction works.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will donate 6,500 MTs of wheat under its Food for Progress programme. CARE will sell the wheat to private sector traders in Armenia through a sealed-bid auction process, and use the earned money for its project to increase agricultural production and household income among 5,000 farmers.
The Government of Japan provided a 400 million yen grant for the development of agriculture of Armenia. Within this project, which is being implemented by the Japanese Agency for International Development, agricultural equipment and chemicals will also be provided. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) announced an international tender with participation of five leading Japanese agricultural companies.
Health and Sanitation
Water supply and sewage systems in the country are in critical state, said Edward Mesropian, Director of the Jinge Engineer-consulting company, which carried out research works in this area. 57.3 percent of water pipes, and 60.3 percent of sewers were laid over 20 years ago. Their now weakened state (due to lack of maintenance as well as normal wear-and-tear) caused an abrupt growth in the number of accidents, which require considerable financial inputs. According to the research there is an increased risk of epidemic outbreaks. This years budget provides 50 million drams to finance sewage and water supply systems, which, according to Mr. Mesropian, makes up only 0.2 percent of the sum required.
The Municipality of Ijevan, the centre of Tavoush marz, has established a joint project with ASIF (the Armenian Social Investment Fund) to reconstruct the social infrastructure of the town. ASIF approved the reconstruction of the drinking water system for four communities worth USD 38,000. A tender has been announced for carrying out reconstruction works.
Following the commissioning of a report by UNHCR and DHA on mental health issues in the Vartenis Psychiatric Hospital and Internat a meeting was held on 14 July at which the report was presented by the Young Medics Association. The report recommended that the admission criteria for psychiatric institutions be reviewed and reformulated to bring it more into line with current policy and practice in other parts of the world. On 23 July the report was presented to the Governor of Gerharkyunik Region who agreed to take follow-up action on those elements of the report which fell under his jurisdiction. The participants to the meeting on 14 July made a decision to present the findings from Vartenis to the Ministers of Health and Social Welfare and to seek the advice of the Ministries with regard to the need for either, (I) preparation of the drafting of a law or (ii) initiation of the establishment of a commission to gather information on the other psychiatric institutions in Armenia. The lead agency for this activity is MSF (Belgium and Greece).
Hayastan All Armenian Fund is implementing a project of house construction in Giumri (earthquake zone). The project is financed by the Jinishian Foundation (USA), and is expected to be completed by the end of 1997.
Education, Training and Child Care
The Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) presented 31 textbooks and other educational materials designed for publication in 1997/98/99 academic years. The World Bank earmarked USD 8 million for the implementation of a three-year educational programme in Armenia. A tender has been announced, which will be held in three stages. The quality of publication will be controlled by the World Bank experts, and the content of textbooks will be approved by the Special Committee of the MoES. This programme has received additional support from UNICEF, UNHCR, USAID and NRC.
The Head of the Education Department of the Yerevan Municipality said that a new regulation related to normal primary and secondary schools has been ratified. According to the regulation, schools will become independent financial entities. The Heads of schools are to be elected by the Board of Trustees, and affirmed by the Mayor or Education Department of the Municipality for three years.
Community Development and Income Support Activities
UNHCR finalised an agreement with World Vision for the implementation of income generation activities in Yerevan. This compliments the UNHCR programme outside the capital which has provided grants for the establishment of small business activities.
IOM commenced activities related to its Micro-Enterprise Programme. This 18 month programme, funded by the United States and UNDP, aims to provide refugees with business training and start-up loans for refugees in Yerevan and Spitak.
An Armenian delegation, composed of representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations, participated in the follow-up meeting to the CIS Conference on 1 and 2 July 1997.
The Government of Armenia and the Russian Gazprom JSC signed an agreement in January, under which it is planned to build a gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey which will run through Armenian territory. During a recent meeting between the sides, issues related to the implementation of the agreement were discussed. The sides agreed on Russias active participation in restoring gas supplies in Armenia. Russia will particularly assist in organising works on payments checkup, repairs to damaged sections of the gas net, realisation of the programme of supplying gas to Turkey via Armenia, Gagik Martirossian, Minister of Energy, said at a news conference on 1 July, and added that within the programme it is planned to run negotiations with the Georgian side as well.
DHA met a representative of the Jinishian Foundation to discuss ways of assistance to be provided to Goris city and surrounding villages by this organisation. DHA raised the urgent need for reconstruction of the storm drainage system at the city. After carrying out an assessment in the region the Jinishian Foundation might consider its involvement in reconstruction of the drainage system, as well as rehabilitation of water and sewage pipes.
Acción Contra el Hambre (ACH) visited DHA Office to seek DHA advice on identification of recipients in the flood-affected areas of Siunik marz to distribute hygiene kits.
United Nations Office in Yerevan, Armenia
Mr. Robert Robinson
Tel.: (003742) 56 23 55
Fax: (003742) 15 17 49
Inter-Agency Support Branch (IASB) - Geneva
Mr. David Bassiouni - Chief
Mr. Arjun Katoch
Tel.: (41 22) 788.1401
Fax: (41 22) 788.6386
Registry E-Mail: Rosemary.Addo-Yirenkyi@dha.unicc.org
Complex Emergency Division (CED) - New York
Mr. Kazuhide Kuroda
Tel.: (1 212) 963.5713
Fax: (1 212) 963.3630
Press to contact (DHA-Geneva)
Ms. Madeleine Moulin-Acevedo
Tel.: (41 22) 917.2856
Fax: (41 22) 917.0023
Telex: 414242 DHA CH