WFP Emergency Report No. 21 of 1996: Liberia
From B. Szynalski, Director, Operational Policy and Support Division. For information regarding resources, donors are requested to contact Ms. B. Karlstrom Dorph, Director, Resources Division, WFP Rome (Ph. 39 6 5228 2500)
PART I - HIGHLIGHTS
(Details below in Part II)
B. LIBERIA AND SIERRA LEONE
a) Overall security situation improves during the week of 25- 31 May as ECOMOG is deployed throughout Monrovia without serious incident.
b) WFP continues to bring much needed relief food aid to beneficiary populations not only in and around Monrovia but also in up-country areas of Liberia through cross-border deliveries from Cote d'Ivoire.
2. Sierra Leone
a) Meeting with donors on update of the UN Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal held in Geneva on 20 May. Operations in Sierra Leone remain seriously under-funded.
b) Peace talks between the government and RUF resume 24 May in Cote d'Ivoire, but break down 28 May.
B. LIBERIA REGIONAL (LIBERIA, COTE D'IVOIRE AND GUINEA) AND SIERRA LEONE
1. LIBERIA (information as of 30 May 1996)
1.1 ECOMOG started full deployment in Monrovia on 26 May, and in the process seized the weapons of fighters in Bushrod Island. NPFL leader Charles Taylor had initially strongly opposed the deployment exercise but later reversed his position and announced on local radio that all "Government forces" would be withdrawn from the city with effect from 27 May, and further urged ECOMOG to disarm the "dissident Krahn factions in the BTC barracks. No major security incidents reported by 30 May as ECOMOG has been deployed over most of the town and armed fighters are no longer seen in central Monrovia. Captain Tsikata, Special Envoy of ECOWAS Chairman President Rawlings, arrived in Monrovia on 28 May to start discussions with Taylor and Krahn representatives.
1.2 WFP is continuing its expanded feeding programme in and around Monrovia: from 25 to 29 May, a total of 163,000 beneficiaries received 1,208 mt of assorted food commodities in Logan Town, Brewerville, Harrisburg, Zwana Town, Mount Barclay and other locations. Food distributions have targeted displaced persons and war-affected residents as well as hospital in-patients, vulnerable groups and food-for-work activities.
1.3 A plan is in place to transport 81 mt of food plus non-food items and medical kits to 8,000 displaced at the Baptist Seminary close to Schiefflin, 20 km south of Monrovia, as the road has been just cleared of all armed fighters. The condition of these people is particularly alarming as they have been trapped for the past few weeks without any assistance due to the fighting between NPFL and Krahn factions. WFP food convoys from Monrovia have also reached up- country locations: on 28 May, 242 mt of food were delivered to 28,000 displaced persons in shelters along the main road between Totota and Gbarnga.
1.4 Simultaneously, cross-border delivery of food has been undertaken from Cote d'Ivoire into Nimba and Bong counties to support school feeding in some 100 schools, vulnerable group feeding (through 18 institutions, i.e. hospitals, health clinics, orphanages and feeding centres), temporary assistance to returning refugees (total caseload of 27,000 to date) and finally distribution of food along with rice seeds and tools for some 29,000 farmers as well as food-for-work for road rehabilitation. The average monthly level of distribution to be carried out through LWS will be some 1,000 mt of food for all these activities.
1.5 Trans-shipment of food will continue from Monrovia to Buchanan as another cargo of approximately 600 mt is being loaded on board WFP-chartered vessel M/V Hollgan Star. Distribution to an estimated 165,000 beneficiaries in Buchanan will be carried out by CRS, Action Contre la Faim and MSF by mid next week.
1.6 The M/V Hollgan Star will sail to Buchanan as soon as the M/V Salvator I, the new support vessel chartered by WFP, arrives in Monrovia to serve as both floating operational base and evacuation facility.
2. SIERRA LEONE
2.1 Peace talks between the government of Sierra Leone and the RUF resumed on 24 May in Yamousoukro, Cote d'Ivoire. However the peace talks broke down on 28 May when the RUF held a press conference stating that they would not agree to demobilization until the South African mercenary group Executive Outcomes leaves the country.
2.2 On 23 May, rebels attacked the town of Tissoh, approximately two miles from WFP stores in Kenema. The combatants appear to have been in search of food and only one person was injured in the attack.
2.3 The UN Humanitarian Coordinator, the Minister for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, the WFP Country Director and the Head of the Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Unit (HACU) travelled to Geneva on 20 May to update the donor community on the changing situation in Siera Leone. No substantial contributions were announced with the exception of one by France. As a result, the WFP emergency operation for Sierra Leone is still dramatically under- resourced with only 2,000 mt pledged against total food requirements of over 41,000 mt. Only loans from the regional Liberia operation presently allow WFP to maintain a regular food pipeline.
2.4 Institutional and targeted vulnerable group feeding in camps in Freetown is in progress. A total of 43 mt of food were supplied to the Jui refugee camp through the NGO Cause Canada on 23 May.
2.5 Between 24 and 27 May, 3,500 people in Magburaka camp were served with a one-month emergency ration.
2.6 From 9 to 25 May, general food distribution in Kenema and RTI camp was completed. Some 50,000 people were given 674 mt of cereals and vegetable oil.
2.7 Following recent cease-fire violations, an influx of about 871 displaced people in Bo were provided with an emergency ration. Between 19-20 May, a one-month ration was distributed in the camps.
2.8 Up-country road movements continue without problems, with all WFP extended delivery points receiving sufficient food supplies for two months of distributions. Five Rubb-Hall temporary warehouses have arrived in Freetown. Three of these units will be sent to Monrovia, and the remaining two will be used for the Sierra Leone operation.