In view of events in Angola, planning to provide humanitarian assistance over the course of 2000 is underway, as well as discussions with UNHCR to enter into a longer-term collaboration and partnership. While the initial funding for the programme has been timely and adequate, there is a need for cash contributions to extend the full range of planned activities.
The ongoing conflict between the Angolan Government Army (FAA) and UNITA forces resulted in a refugee influx from southern Angola to northern Namibia. The influx began in early December, 1999 and has continued on a sporadic basis. On 28 February, the population of the camp was 9,500 people, of which 95% are Angolans. With an influx of 1,360 refugees in February, there has been a 100% increase compared to the figure of 680 for January. The increase reflects the level of insecurity on the Namibian-Angolan border. The war has shifted to the north-east where incidences of armed bandits ambushing motorist on the road between Rundu and Katima Mulilo and planting of antitank mines on the Trans-Karahari highway are occurring.
UNHCR has expressed a desire to conclude a sub-agreement with Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) and the Federation by June, taking into consideration the revised appeal for 12 months. The needs in Osire are still urgent due to the ever increasing number of refugees.
The Regional Response Team has been reinforced by the addition of three new NRCS members, notably, a Health Co-ordinator, a Water/Sanitation Technician (Osire Refugee Camp) and a Disaster Relief Officer who has been assigned to the Kassava Transit Centre in Rundu. The Field Officer for Rundu and Katima Mulilo, working with ICRC on protection issues, has also joined the Team. Co-ordination meetings in the camp, with all players present, have been held with the purpose of strengthening the management of the camp.
The Federation's Head of Regional Delegation for Southern Africa visited Namibia and the camp, meeting with various donor organisations including the European Union Delegation to discuss the planned water and sanitation proposal, and the German Embassy to clarify needs of the refugees in Osire. A meeting was also held with the Department for International Development (DFID). UNHCR underlined their intention of entering into a sub-agreement with the NRCS and the Federation. Visits were also conducted to the north of the country, in particular to Rundu District which has been a major entry point for refugees. At the time of the visit, 40 refugees were accommodated at the transit centre.
UNHCR's Representative for Namibia (based in Pretoria) visited and held a meeting with the Red Cross team in the camp, as well as with the Secretary General of the NRCS. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs also visited the camp and addressed all the aid organisations emphasising the need for co-ordination. Ministry of Health officials accompanied by World Health Organisation personnel visited the camp, familiarising themselves with the Red Cross activities and delivering equipment for a nutritional survey. Representatives of the embassies of Sweden and the Netherlands visited and held a meeting to identify possible areas of support. The main implementing partner for the Osire Refugee Camp, the Council of Churches of Namibia (CCN), terminated their contract with UNHCR in the fourth week of February. UNHCR is currently considering the Red Cross as the only viable operational partner.
Red Cross/Red Crescent action
The supply of materials for most of the construction work was delayed for three weeks because supplies procured in South Africa were held up due to impassable roads from heavy rains. However, the work in many areas has continued.
The Red Cross team continued the process of educating and mobilising the refugee community to participate in the construction of family latrines. During the period under review three meetings were held with the community to continue the promotion of their participation in the programme.
The following activities have been achieved:
- 2,526 bricks were formed (for the lining of latrines pits);
- 218 latrines were sited and dug;
- work advanced to construct the superstructure of 44 latrines;
- 15 latrines were completed;
- 7 slabs were cast;
- 199 tents were distributed and erected, with a total of 498 now in place).
The geophysical survey team has identified 11 potential sites for bore holes. The proposal for phase two of the project on a water reticulation system has been completed and forwarded to the Regional Delegation in Harare.
Health activities were focused on the selection of a team of 38 volunteers who have since been trained for the Home Visitors Programme. The volunteers have been assigned to represent blocks in the camp while others will be involved in the nutrition programme to be launched with the help of WFP. A further 3-day-course was held for volunteers in anthropometry measurement and the identification of malnourished children. This course also involved providing volunteers the opportunity to carry out assessments themselves. The volunteers were divided into groups comprising a supervisor, an assessor, and a recorder. The nutrition survey has now taken place and the health team is currently analysing the data using the equipment provided by the Ministry of Health and the WHO.
Transport constraints are seriously hampering the operation, and the vehicles due to arrive shortly will assist the operation considerably.
External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media
Embassies in Windhoek are in constant contact with the NRCS, in in many cases through their respective PNSs. Regular meetings are held with the Government and UNHCR, and co-ordination meetings at field level have been instituted in order to ensure the smooth running of the operation, to avoid duplication of efforts and to promote the sharing of the resources available.
Operations Funding and Reporting Department