UN Agencies Seek US $65 Million for Humanitarian Aid to Liberia
Inter-Agency appeal seeks funds to help 1.8 million Liberians affected by ongoing conflict
The United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) today launched a consolidated inter-agency appeal for US $65.3 million to fund emergency humanitarian activities in Liberia during the first six months of 1995.
The upsurge in fighting that began more than a year ago in Liberia has been disastrous for the country's civilian population. Recent assessments indicate that 1.8 million persons inside Liberia require emergency assistance, while only 1.5 million of those can be reached. Only a small section of the country is secure. This area, including most of Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado countries, is now dangerously overcrowded. The current population of Monrovia is estimated at 1.2 million, four time its pre-war size, and the situation in Buchanan is similar.
Humanitarian assistance in Liberia, is hindered by some of the most difficult circumstances in the conflict's five-year history. An elusive peace, combined with the lack of credible security guarantees on the part of the warring factions have limited most regular relief activities to areas controlled by the Military Observer Group of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOMOG).The consolidated inter-agency appeal has been developed, taking into account the constraints imposed by this difficult operating environment. The appeal reflects humanitarian interventions which can be implemented under existing security constraints.
The appeal document outlines life-saving projects planned by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (HABITAT) in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and DHA.
In the food and nutrition sector, the appeal noted that without immediate improvement in the overall security environment, the nutritional status of displaced persons, both within and outside secure zones, may deteriorate further. To combat this trend, WFP and its partners will continue to distribute a diversified food basket, while continuing an emergency school feeding programme and a food-for-work project for demobilized combatants who have settled in greater Monrovia.
In the agriculture and food security sector FAO will act to cushion the effects of food shortages in areas that are currently calm. Activities in this sector include land preparation for rice cultivation, production of root and vegetable crops and rehabilitation of tree-crop farms and plantations in greater Monrovia.
WHO and UNICEF will continue to give priority to health and medical relief initiatives for disease treatment and prevention; improving reproductive health care; HIV prevention and social mobilization, and trauma counselling. UNICEF will address the needs of children in especially difficult circumstances, as well as the special needs of women and girls.
In the water and sanitation sector, UNICEF interventions will focus on the need to provide water and sanitation facilities for about 200,000 displaced persons up-country and 80,000 persons in peri-urban communities who are living in abandoned houses with no facilities.
The appeal also covers assistance in the areas of emergency shelter, and education and training.