Eritrea: Humanitarian update - May 2006
The Advisory Group on the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) held its inaugural session on 23 May at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The twelve members of the Advisory Group (of whom Marika Fahlen, Special Envoy/Advisor on the Horn of Africa for the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Chairperson; Barbara Carby, Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management of Jamaica, and Sipho George Nene, Deputy Director-General of the Multilateral Branch of the Department for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, were elected Vice-Chairs) were appointed by the Secretary-General in conformity with General Assembly resolution 60/124 of 15 December 2005. The Advisory Group provides periodic policy guidance and expert advice on the use and impact of the CERF to the Secretary-General, through the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
Mr. Jan Egeland, Under Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator briefed the members on how the CERF has been used since its launch on 8 March 2006. To date, more than $261 million has been pledged to the CERF by 41 Member States and two private sector organizations. Allocations have been or are being considered for fifteen emergencies, including the use of rapid response funds for Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Sudan, Suriname, and the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia), as well as the use of resources set aside for under funded emergencies in Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Haiti, Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia.
The CERF will save lives by providing quick initial funding for life-saving assistance and rapid response in sudden onset emergencies, rapid deteriorations, and neglected emergencies by redressing the existing imbalance in global aid distribution.
3,000 war-displaced families from Molki sub-zone in Gash Barka region have begun returning to their villages. The IDPs have been living in makeshift camps for seven years in Dembe-Doran. The head of infrastructure of Gash-Barka region, Mr. Tekie Keleta, said that the regional administration has made the necessary arrangements so as the returnees could begin managing their lives.
The Ministry of Health supported by UNICEF and WHO has wrapped up the preparations for implementing the national vitamin A + measles vaccination campaign scheduled to take place from 28 June-2 July 2006. The target group is approximately half a million 6-59 month children. All zobas have received their share of vitamin A capsules, measles vaccines, syringes and other logistics. Dates of zoba micro-planning and pre-campaign assessments have been decided and already started in two zobas.
Supplemental measles immunization activities are necessary to reach children who have never been vaccinated against the disease. This measure will reduce any build up of susceptible individuals born since the last "catch up campaign" in 2003 and will pave the way for Measles Elimination. To control vitamin A deficiency in children under 5 years, vitamin A supplementation is part of the campaign and will be distributed a second time later this year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in its weekly bulletin reports that the drought situation in the Horn of Africa is a major source of concern to the world. The Northern and Southern Red Seas regions of Eritrea are the areas likely to be affected by the consequences of this natural disaster. It is in this view that a special intervention supported by United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has targeted these areas. The fund approved a grant of US $1.34 million to improve information for humanitarian response, fill critical gaps to save lives and build local capacity. So far, WHO has procured emergency kits with the UN CERF grant, which include three New Emergency Health Kits, 2 Diarrhoea kits, 40 UNFPA kits and 1 Trauma kits.
The kits could be used to treat 30,000 people for three months for common disease, manage 200 cases of diarrhea including cholera, attend to 100 interventions cases of trauma and conduct 8,000 deliveries. These kits will contribute to filling the critical gaps identified in responding to emergencies.
UNICEF Supports in Establishing Community Based Therapeutic Feeding
To contribute to the reduction of child malnutrition, the Ministry of Health supported by UNICEF is conducting an assessment of the supplementary and therapeutic feeding activities in the high risk Zobas such as Northern and Southern Red Sea. All the procured foods will be received and directly distributed by MoH. A community based therapeutic feeding plan has been developed to complement the facility based therapeutic feeding project.
UNICEF provided support for water trucking for 26 schools (3200 school children) in droughtaffected areas in Zoba Southern Red Sea and for 20 schools in Anseba for the benefit of 8,700 school children.
To increase the coverage of community based mine awareness, especially in Debub and Gash Barka regions, UNICEF supported the training of 4 Mine Risk Education (MRE) teams consisting of 40 members of the Eritrea De-mining Authority.
There are now ten teams whose major role is to provide information and to sensitize the 665,000 people living in highly landmine and Explosives Remnants of War (ERW) affected areas of the country.
Mine Risk Education in schools focused on child-to-child activities to promote children and youth participation in MRE efforts are underway. UNICEF supported a MRE Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop that was conducted for 115 teachers, directors, supervisors and 3 journalists to strengthen school-based MRE programmes and mass media MRE awareness productions. This increases the number of MRE trainers to a total of 455 teachers and enhances the capacity of the Ministry of Education to provide MRE at schools.
UNMEE MACC Highlights
The Route Clearance teams of Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC) carried out clearance operations at a dam site in the Mai Aini area of Sector Center. The operation was conducted in response to a request from UNMEE's Indian Battalion. Integrated demining operations were also conducted on the Deda - Lalay, Badme and Gedamu roads in Sector West. The Teams cleared 263,468 sq.m. of area and 29 kms of road.
The MACC Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team based in Asmara was deployed to Tsorena Area in Sector Center. The Team conducted a mine impact survey on 21 villages contaminated with landmines and UXOs, where IDPs have started to return to recently. The EOD Team also disposed unexploded ordnance items that it discovered during its deployment. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team of the MACC based in Ethiopia also carried out reconnaissance tasks on roads in the Rama area in Sector Center. The two EOD Teams disposed of 224 unexploded ordnance items.
The Mine Risk Education (MRE) Teams of MACC carried out MRE to 1,870 people in the sub zoba of Senafe in Sector Center and in the sub zoba of Shambiko in Sector West.
The MACC held an Open Day on 5 May 2006 to present the activities of its different sectors. Representatives from UN agencies, members of diplomatic missions, government officials and representatives from NGOs in Asmara attended the open day.
In addition, MACC, along with the other sections of UNMEE, also participated in activities organized to commemorate the International Day of UN Peace keepers on 29 May 2006.
The MACC received a report of a UXO incident, which occurred on 11 May 2006. The incident involving a six-year-old boy took place 2.3 km south west of the Berqanene village in the Tsorena area of Sector Center. The MACC investigated the incident and released the Preliminary Investigation Report on 23 May 2006.
For further Information related to the Humanitarian Update, Please contact:
OCHA - Eritrea Public Information Section at 291-1-151666/151888, Fax- 291-1-151999, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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