Armenia Situation Report No.14
Situation Report from the DHA Coordinator in ARMENIA - No. 14
The World Food Programme issues Appeal to the International Donor Community.
Armenian Social Investment Fund plans expenditure of USD 400,000 in Tavoush Region.
Governmental Commission publishes report on Noyemberian Earthquake of 18 July -earthquake damage runs into millions of dollars. Assistance sought from the international community.
Head of the Department for Refugees and Migration of the Ministry of Social Welfare (MoSW) Mekhak Gabrielian stated at a news conference held on 20 August that one of the principal issues is the placement of refugees. A project being developed by the Department is aimed at providing special identification cards to refugees, to allow them to travel outside the country. Mr. Gabrielian said that it is a problem to estimate the real number of refugees in Armenia due to unregistered migration flows. Only 1,000 refugees have obtained citizenship, which, according to him, is due to a certain psychological orientation related to the perception that refugees are more likely to receive humanitarian assistance than citizens of the country.
The Minister of Social Welfare Hranush Hakopian and the Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Hamid Reza Nikkar Esfahani held discussions related to social security issues. The Minister was invited to participate in the regional conference devoted to social issues which is to take place in December 1997 in Teheran, Iran.
According to the press service of the MoSW, the cleaning process of PAROS programme continues. Registered households should provide papers confirming the information recorded in their social passports by 15 September 1997. Deputy Minister Gagik Yeganian said the previously used system of individual grants will be replaced by a new system of family grants, based on the PAROS system. The Government will allocate 13 billion drams for this purpose. Instead of the registered 736,000 families, PAROS programme will aim to provide support to the 250,000 most vulnerable families.
The Armenian Social Investment Fund (ASIF) is carrying out earmarked activities in Siunik marz to reconstruct the social infrastructures of the marz. A USD 292,000 programme is being implemented in three major towns. The ASIF approved two more programmes worth USD 206,000, including the reconstruction of the road leading to the fields of Kornidzor village, and construction of irrigation water-pipes in Sissian town.
SECTORAL SUMMARY OF EVENTS
Food Security and Agriculture
WFP issued an appeal to international donors to provide food aid to Armenia, where current supplies will run out in September 1997. WFP asks for 16,483 MTs of food or USD 7.7 million to cover the needs of 220,000 vulnerable people during September 1997 - 30 June 1998. The situation is conditioned by the absence of humanitarian food assistance to Armenia for already 3-4 months, besides the 3,200 tones of wheat assistance provided by the Japanese Government. DHA Yerevan issued a special bulletin on this issue, which has been widely distributed. According to Fridrikh Badeyan, Head of the Working Group of the Humanitarian Assistance Commission (HAC), the anxiety of WFP is conditioned by recent natural disasters throughout the country which have caused considerable damage to crops and may, thus, have a negative impact on food security during the winter months in the country.
The Government of Germany will allocate DM 40,000 worth food to Siunik marz, mainly Goris and nearby villages affected by the recent floods. The Office of the Armenians South: Integration Programme of Food Provision (IESP) of Technical Cooperation Society (GTZ) will also assist in implementing a humanitarian action by distributing food among different communities in Sissian region.
An agreement on providing 96 MTs of wheat, has been signed between CARE and the Governor of Gegharkunik marz on 13 August. Aid will be distributed to 320 families in nine villages of Vardenis region of the marz, which were affected by rain and hail.
Save the Children (SCF) organised construction of an irrigation waterline in Gavar city of Gegharkunik marz. 30 percent of the expenses will be paid by the local community. The waterline is 1,000 meters long and will irrigate 20-25 hectares of land.
The US Embassy in Armenia plans to set up a special fund to promote the restoration of food industries and the private agricultural sector damaged by the earthquake in Shirak marz. The US Embassy issued a statement saying that privatised patented enterprises involved in agricultural production are entitled to receive short and intermediate-term credits.
Hail and abundant rains again caused an emergency situation, this time in Lori and Shirak marzes. The extent of the damage caused to the agriculture and economy of the marzes is being estimated.
Health and Sanitation
Among the problems Armenia is currently facing in the health sector, the procurement and rehabilitation of medical equipment is one of the most urgent. At present all issues related to purchase, shipment, repairs and maintenance of medical equipment are dealt with by an Armenian-French joint company Medical Equipment and Service (MeS). Samvel Khachatrian, Service Manager of the company, reported that MeS has designed a project Rehabilitation of Medical Equipment at medical establishments in five regions of Armenia. Medical equipment worth USD 5,000,000 is now being operated in these regions. The project was approved by the Ministry of Health (MoH). Currently, funds are being sought for its implementation.
United Armenian Fund (UAF) delivered its regular humanitarian assistance to Armenia, including medicine and medical equipment worth USD 2.4 million.
The Government of Armenia issued a decree restructuring the Scientific-Research Institute of General Hygiene and Occupational Diseases into a Gtutiun (Charity) Medical Centre to provide free medical care for the poor sections of the population.
OXFAM completed the implementation of its programme - Health Promotion in Refugee Communities funded by DFID, UK (Department for International Development). The health promotion programme is aimed at addressing priority health needs of the most vulnerable population through reinforcement of health infrastructures in isolated rural areas. The programme also incorporated a disability component targeted at provision of physical access for disabled people in public buildings. OXFAM has started the implementation of a programme incorporating components of drinking water provision, nurse training in emergency aid and health cost recovery schemes.
The Armenian Social Investment Fund (ASIF) plans to invest more than USD 400,000 for the reconstruction and repair of public infrastructure in Tavoush marz. The Mayors office and offices of community heads have elaborated 13 programmes to reconstruct irrigation and drinking water system. The ASIF has approved the programmes but financed only one. The delay is conditioned by the fact that most of the communities are not able to make the proposed 10 percent contribution.
The Government of Germany allocated DM 5 million to construct 82 out of 121 cottages for refugees and IDPs, representative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Marion Gopman said. This humanitarian action was implemented jointly with UNHCR within the framework of the programme of assistance to refugees and IDPs started by the Government of Armenia in 1995. The Government of Germany also provided financing for construction of a policlinic, a health centre, water and sewage systems.
The governmental press service reported that long term loans will be provided to the population for housing construction in the earthquake zone, aimed at improving living conditions of those who lost shelter and found temporary refuge in unsafe buildings.
The Governmental Commission established to assess the extent of damage caused by the 18 July earthquake in Noyemberian region, announced the results of the assessment on 10 August. According to the Commissions findings, the earthquake damaged 17 populated areas, 5,120 private houses (1083 of them are to be torn down), 18 dwelling houses, 149 social facilities, 6,846 subsidiary buildings and constructions. Damage caused to the population and social facilities has been assessed at 10,7 and 4.5 billion drams respectively. The commission instructed the leaders of the affected communities to render assistance to people in repairing their homes before the government aid arrives. It is planned to provide cottages to those whose houses are to be torn down. The Government has requested assistance from the international community to meet the costs of rehabilitation and repair.
Construction works on 21 unfinished apartments for refugees have been resumed in Sissian, Siunik marz within the UNHCR shelter Project. Water, sewage and energy systems will be reconstructed as well.
Education, Training and Child-care
Three camps for 300 children from poor families, which are sponsored by the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) and UNHCR have been organised in Armavir region.
Development Related Activity
The NGO Resource and Training Centre, operating within the framework of the programme on training and technical assistance to non-governmental organisations begins a new stage in its activity. A total of 526 NGOs from Yerevan and Giumri are registered with the Centre. According to the Centre, the public sector should be prepared and trained to solve problems, like refugees, disabled, culture, economy, etc. During this new phase participating NGOs will be trained in earning money under an extension of their activity.
The Attorney General of Armenia, Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (CDHR) and UNHCR signed an agreement on computerisation of the prosecutors office. A total of USD 30,000 will be allocated, USD 5,000 of which will be spent for training of specialists. The Embassy of the United States in Armenia earlier allocated USD 8,000 for the same purposes.
Community Development and Income Support Activities
The project Micro-Enterprise Development has been signed between the Armenian Government and UNDP. The project, implemented by IOM, is aimed at increasing the economic self-sufficiency of migrants, displaced persons and refugees and enabling them to eliminate dependency on humanitarian aid. Under the project, micro-enterprise training will be provided to 630 refugees/IDPs in Yerevan and Gyumri. Successful training graduates will receive assistance in establishing portable micro-enterprises through business financing, advisory and support services.
The programme Bed Linen Production by Vulnerable Women and Relief Distribution to Hospitals and Vulnerable Groups funded by DFID (UK) and implemented by OXFAM, provided opportunities for income and employment to 120 unemployed, displaced and disabled women in two centres in Abovian and Biureghavan. Total 9450 sets were produced and distributed to 39 regional hospitals and 1737 refugee families in 47 communal centres.
The State Energy Commission made a decision to increase tariffs for electric power starting on 1 September. According to the Chairman of the Commission Vardan Movsissian, the new tariffs are mainly a result of increasing dollar rate to the Armenian dram.
Within the framework of an aid programme in the energy sector, a second inter-governmental agreement on collaboration in reconstruction of the Kanaker hydro-electric power plant was signed between Armenia and Germany. A loan worth DM 15 million will be provided to Armenia for the implementation of the project.
On 7 August DHA undertook a field trip to Noyemberian region, Tavoush marz, to make an assessment of the damage caused by the earthquake on 18 July 1997. A report based on the available information and the observations made by DHA, was prepared and distributed to the international community in Armenia.
On 12 August DHA and ECHO met with Keith McMahon, Deputy Head of Mission, UK Embassy, to discuss the possibilities of funding an MSF/B project proposal on reconstruction of the Noyemberian hospital, which was damaged by the earthquake in July. Mr. McMahon expressed his interest in the possible UN/ECHO joint assessment with regard to the increased food insecurity in winter due to crop damage caused by significant floods and hails during the current agricultural season.
DHA together with UNHCR/DHA Sissian Field Office, visited Goris on 26 August to assess the current situation in Goris city and the utilisation of donated funds. Significant work has been done by the local authorities, construction companies to reconstruct sewage and water systems, some sections of the storm drainage system, as well as to clean up debris from the drainage system and streets in Goris city. The Municipality stated that almost 70 percent of the sewage system will be reconstructed with the donated funds. The Armenian Government will allocate 50 million drams (USD 100,000) to Goris city for purchasing fuel, reconstruction of bridges, cleaning up debris. Out of this amount 30 million drams (USD 60,000) will be used to repair water and sewage systems in the city.
United Nations Office in Yerevan, Armenia
Mr. Robert Robinson
Tel.: (003742) 56 23 55
Fax: (003742) 15 17 49
Inter-Agency Support Branch (IASB) -
Mr. David Bassiouni - Chief
Ms. Sylvia Ferazzi
Tel.: (41 22) 788.1402
Fax: (41 22) 788.6386
Complex Emergency Division (CED) - New
Mr. David McLachlan-Karr
Tel.: (1 212) 963.0226
Fax: (1 212) 963.1388
Press to contact (DHA-Geneva)
Ms. Madeleine Moulin-Acevedo
Tel.: (41 22) 917.2856
Fax: (41 22) 917.0023
Telex: 414242 DHA CH