CAR

UNICEF External Situation Report Central African Republic - 23 May 2007

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Major Developments

The leader of the major rebel faction, General Zackaria Damane, has agreed to sign a deal between the UFDR, UNICEF and the GoCAR to release child soldiers serving amongst its ranks. The 1 June has been set as the tentative signing of the deal which would see 400 boy soldiers handed over to UNICEF CAR, which will immediately implement DDR programmes.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced its intentions of launching an investigation into suspected crimes against humanity, most notably large scale sexual violence. The investigation will cover the period from 2002-2003, during which conflicts between ex-president Patasse and the rebels raged.

The AU has announced that it will conduct a 10-day mission to CAR, Chad and Sudan to evaluate the root causes of the crisis in Darfur and to investigate why peace deals have not been successful thus far. This comes after the recent peace deal signed by the governments of Chad and Sudan last week. The 6-envoy mission is expected to visit CAR 27-29 May.

Assistant Secretary General and UNICEF Chief Advisor Ibrahima Fall led an interagency mission to the North East and Central regions from 10-17 May. The humanitarian assessment mission evaluated progress made since Mr. Fall's initial mission to the country 6 months ago.

On 19 May, WFP airlifted 31 metric tones of equipment from Ghana into the CAR capital of Bangui. The equipment, comprising of temporary storage facilities, living accommodations and accompanying tool kits, is part of efforts to reach an estimated 230,000 people affected by recent violence and displacement.

Needs Assessment

An estimated 250 houses have been burned on the Bang-Bezere axis following an upsurge in fighting. An inter-agency mission to identify the needs of the population was twice planned to Ngaoundai (north-west), but both have been cancelled for security reasons. Partnership with MSF France has led to family relief kits, which include items such as mosquito nets, plastic sheeting, and jerry cans, being distributed to 270 displaced families in Ngaoundai.

International NGOs Merlin and Aide Médicale Internationale (AMI) are conducting assessments on health and sanitation in the north-west.

UNICEF continues to identify potential drilling companies and implementing partners.

UNICEF Response

EDUCATION

Of the 180 UNICEF school benches that have reached Birao, only 67 have been assembled due to a shortage of nails. School kits have also arrived, however with more people returning from hiding back to their homes, the need has grown and thus more kits are required.

In Paoua, 53 people have been trained as teachers under the bush-school project run by Italian NGO COOPI.

A task-force has been put in place in Bossangoa to generate ideas in order to better respond to the education in emergency issues.

NUTRITION

A community-based nutrition programme has started on 14 May and will cover 126 villages in the Prefectures of Ouham (48 villages), Lobaye (26 villages), Bamingui Bangoran (26 villages) and Nana Grizibi (26 villages). In partnership with International Partnership for Human Development (IPHD), the programme will monitor levels of malnutrition in children ages 0-5 years. Twenty-four community agents in Ouham underwent training, which will soon be extended to other areas. The training will be completed at the beginning of June.

The training of the Bangui Therapeutic Feeding Centre (TFC) staff continues with technical support from French NGO Action Contre la Faim (ACF).

The training of the community agents continues in Lobaye (southwest) which will include the participation of 24 villages.

In partnership with ACF, a nutritional evaluation that aims to better evaluate the nutritional situation of children 6 to 59 months in the Vakaga region began 22 May and will last 10 days.

A co-coordination meeting of the group GRAIN was held and included the participation of UNICEF, other UN agencies, private nutritional centers, and NGOs, and those working in the treatment of acute malnutrition.

HEALTH/EPI

A National Health Day Campaign will run from 25-30 May and will include: multi-antigens immunization among infant children; Vitamin A supplementation for children 6-59 months; de-worming with Mebendazole for children 12-59 months. In the districts of Nana Gribizi, Kemo, Mbomou and Haut Mbomou the distribution of 75,000 LL/ITNs for children under 5 years will commence.

The Child Survival work plans for the zonal regions are in the process of being finalized.

WES

Four pumps have been repaired in Birao, while two more pumps were repaired in Takamala and Takadja.

PROTECTION

In preparation for the expected 1 June release of child soldiers in Vakaga, UNICEF is sending this weekend a convoy of drivers and materials necessary for the demobilization process.

In Kaga Bandoro (north-east), UNICEF and UNHCR trained 20 soldiers, 10 gendarmes and 5 policemen on the humanitarian law, as pertaining to children. Ibrahim Fall visited the training and the UNICEF sub-office in town.

HIV/AIDS

In Ndele and Kaga Bandoro (north-east), UNICEF, Ministry of Youth and Caritas trained 149 supervisers in the links between HIV and sexual violence in emergency settings. In total, 570 community workers from 121 villages would be trained by end May.

Inter-agency Collaboration and Key Partnerships

In collaboration with the Ministry of Economy, Planning and International Cooperation, UNOCHA and UNICEF hosted a Monitoring and Evaluation workshop from 8-9 May for Government and civil society partners. The workshop developed a standard format for rapid evaluations with inputs of UNICEF's major partners and will serve to improve the monitoring of activities conducted between UNICEF and its partners. Key participants included the Ministry of Public Health and Population, Ministry of Hydrology and Mines, Ministry of family, social affairs and national solidarity, Ministry of youth, sports, art and culture, Caritas, UNHCR, ACF, Université de Bangui, IPHD, Coopi, Triangle, WHO, Crepa, Ambassade Chrétienne and Aide Medicale Internationale (AMI).

In order to best respond to the current crisis involving COOPI, Resident Coordinator, OCHA and COOPI have formed a Crisis Group that will meet on a bi-daily basis to discuss the volatile hostage situation in Bocaranga.

The Group is headed by UNICEF Representative Mahimbo Mdoe, as acting RC, with UNICEF being charged to lead on related communication activities, including press releases.

Project Cooperation Agreements (PCA) have recently been signed with the following NGOs: (i) AMI for the reinforcement of health system in the district of Bamingui Bangoran; (ii) IPHD for the implementation of a Community-based Nutrition Programme in the districts of Ouham, Lobaye, Nana Gribizi and Bamingui Bangoran; (iii) MSF/France, for the distribution of LL/ITNs in the district of Ouham Pende. A PCA is in process with International Rescue Committee (IRC) for the reinforcement of health system in the district of Nana Gribizi.

A new electrical generator was given to IRC to replace the broken one and will be installed in the Kaga Bandoro hospital.