Congo

UNICEF Humanitarian Action: Republic of Congo Donor Update 24 Jan 2003

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- 150,000 internally displaced persons in the South and 65,000 flood victims in the North in urgent need of assistance
- Ongoing peace campaign

- UNICEF short of emergency supplies for IDPs and flood victims

1. EMERGENCY OVERVIEW AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

IDPs in urgent need of humanitarian assistance

At the end of March 2002, the armed conflict in the Pool region re-started with a confrontation between Ninjas and military forces, affecting approximately 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) or 60 percent of the total population of the Pool region (258,000).

An estimated number of more than 80,000 displaced persons moved into the Brazzaville, Bouenza, Plateau, Lekoumou and the Niari regions, while a certain percentage of IDPs remained hiding in the forests. Although no exact figures are available, there are reports that some displaced persons found refuge along the border areas between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo particularly in the Boko and Mindouli districts. Instability which began in the Pool region in 2002 continues to be a major issue. In October, the armed conflict expanded to the Mbanza-Ndounga, Boko and Loungui districts and more recently to Inie district in the Pool region, which has caused another movement of more than 15,000 displaced persons to Brazzaville.

The displaced people are temporarily housed in 7 reception sites in the southern sub-urban areas of Brazzaville as well as by host families or relatives. They are in dire need of emergency humanitarian assistance.

Peace campaigns ongoing

People from all segments of the population have demanded that the armed conflict in the Pool region stop. The government is currently searching for solutions to an end of the armed conflict by opening up opportunities for the Ninjas to disarm and come into Brazzaville. As a result of this peace campaign, the situation in Kindamba, Kimba and Vindza districts is increasingly less tense with less confrontation between Ninjas and the military. More than 8,000 displaced persons that found refuge in the forests have begun to come out and have temporarily concentrated in 7 sites in Kindamba. They urgently require relief assistance, particularly food, non-food supplies, tarpaulins for temporary shelter, medicines, vaccines and BP-5 biscuits for survival. Concerted efforts to bring all children back into the education system must also be given priority. A successful peace campaign will be followed by the massive return of at least 35,000 people or 7,000 families to their original towns and villages in the Pool region. As expected, more areas will be opened-up for humanitarian aid agencies to reach the IDPs that remained hiding in the remote forest areas of the Pool region.

Displaced families, women and youth also need to be supported with economic activities (e.g. training and micro-credit assistance) in order to build their capacity to cope with current difficult living conditions and sustain their daily existence.

Government appeals for emergency assistance for flood victims

The Government has requested urgent humanitarian assistance from UN agencies and the donor community to help the 65,000 flood victims in the Likouala, Cuvette, Plateau and Sangha regions. People have lost their homes, crops and personal belongings. In addition, public buildings (i.e. schools and health centres) were also damaged and need to be rehabilitated and re-equipped with essential supplies.

UNICEF is short of essential emergency supplies

There is a huge unmet need for humanitarian assistance for the displaced that have moved to Brazzaville and other regions. UNICEF emergency supplies are now depleted and need to be replenished to serve the more than 35,000 displaced persons who are temporarily settled in the Brazzaville and Bouenza regions and in the villages and districts of Lekoumou, Plateaux, Bouenza, Niari and Pool. In addition, those newly arrived IDPs (estimated at 2,500 families) to Brazzaville housed by host families or relatives need immediate assistance.

2. UNICEF RESPONSE: ACTIVITIES, ACHIEVEMENTS AND CONSTRAINTS

Non-food assistance and shelter

To date, UNICEF has been able to serve over 17,000 displaced families (52,000 persons) from the Pool region, through the distribution of non-food supplies: sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, cooking pots, plastic plates and cups, soap, jerry cans, buckets, water purification tablets, bowls, lamps and tarpaulins. During the June events in Brazzaville, 17 churches were used as temporary refuge for the displaced persons in Brazzaville, which were supplied with tarpaulins. The construction of temporary shelters in 7 reception sites in southern Brazzaville is underway to accommodate the newly arrived IDPs, and is being undertaken in co-operation with ACTED, a partner NGO. With the peace campaigns, two hundred Ninja rebels who disarmed were provided with non-food assistance items (sleeping mats, mattress, mosquito nets, cooking utensils, soaps, jerry cans, soaps, buckets, education kits).

Health and nutrition

At the period of transition from a post conflict to a rehabilitation and development situation, the major achievements include:

  • 100% coverage for National Immunizations Days (NIDs) campaign has been achieved and sustained in 2000, 2001 and 2002,

  • Reactivation and improvement of primary health care (PHC) services in 44 integrated units and 8 rural hospitals through the provision of medical kits, equipment and training of personnel,

  • Promotion of safe motherhood, family planning services and HIV/AIDS prevention in PHC units and hospitals by providing delivery kits, equipment, training and massive education campaign,

  • Strengthening the routine vaccination and control of epidemics through the provision of vaccines, cold chain equipment, logistics including training,

  • Rehabilitation of health centres in Sangolo, Makelekele-Brazzaville and Odziba, Ngabe, Pool region,

  • In addition, the major emergency responses carried out by UNICEF in collaboration with various partners include: 20,000 ill and wounded IDPs, the majority of whom being children and women, were treated in the health centres and hospitals supplied with emergency medical kits. UNICEF provided medicines and equipment to 13 PHC units, 17 health posts established in the churches during the 14 June events in Brazzaville, 7 health posts located in the reception centres in southern Brazzaville, including 5 district hospitals, the Makelekele and Centres Hospitaliers Universitaires (CHU) general hospitals in Brazzaville. Despite ongoing civil conflict in the Pool region, polio vaccination has protected 39,000 displaced children of up to 5 years of age with the assistance of NGOs and military forces in the war zone areas. Measles vaccinations were also undertaken in reception centres as well as in the villages where humanitarian agencies have access. This is an effort to prevent measles outbreak. UNICEF, in conjunction with UNFPA, initially provided delivery kits for pregnant women in the 13 PHC units in Brazzaville. UNICEF is working together with the Association Medicines Afrique (AMA, partner NGO) for the follow-up of health needs of the IDPs in all reception centres in Brazzaville as well as in the regions of Bouenza and Lekoumou.
Achievements in the nutrition area include:
  • Major reduction of malnutrition rate among the children under five from 35% to 15% with the initiation of various nutrition activities,

  • Over 553,000 children received Vitamin A supplementation which was simultaneously undertaken during the NIDs,

  • Some 672,000 children were dewormed including those children in schools,

  • 2,755 high risk pregnant women received Vitamin A supplementation visiting the maternity centres,

  • 461 pregnant women and 700 breastfeeding women received iron folic acid in PHC units,

  • Seventy-six percent of the households are using iodised salt with the massive education campaign initiated by various government partners as well as in schools,

  • Seventeen NGOs were trained on control of micronutrient deficiencies,

  • A community-based nutrition surveillance system has been initiated in 23 communities with the support of PHC workers,

  • Five thousand displaced and malnourished children were regularly screened in reception centres and health posts. BP-5 biscuits were provided to them while therapeutic milk was provided to severely malnourished children in hospitals.
Basic education

Major achievements in the education sector include:

  • The rehabilitation of 24 primary schools that have greatly contributed in increasing the enrolment of children, including the improvement of the learning and teaching environment and the rendering schools a much safer place for children,

  • The creation of 7 pre-schools in rehabilitated school buildings benefiting 500 (3-6 years old children),

  • 150,000 pupils provided with education kits,

  • 5,000 refugee children (Rwanda, DRC and the Central African Republic) were also provided with education kits through the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and UNHCR,

  • 5,600 children who had to stop their education due to a series of civil wars participated in the special remedial make-up classes assisted by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Fédération des Enfants et des Femmes du Congo (FEFCO) and Action Thalitakoum (partner NGOs),

  • 7,000 displaced school children from the Pool region were inserted into primary and secondary schools close to their temporary residences and were provided with education kits,

  • Special make-up remedial classes were also organised in the 7 reception centres in southern Brazzaville in collaboration with ASU, a partner NGO. There is an immediate need to organise early childhood care and feeding activities to prevent the rising malnutrition problem in the reception centres.
Water and sanitation

Major achievements include:

  • 30 India Mark II hand pumps were installed in Madibou, Makelekele and Brazzaville, benefiting 25,000 people,

  • Access to safe drinking water for the 50,000 returnee population in the Lekoumou and Bouenza regions with the construction of 14 communal water supply sources and 20 India Mark II hand pumps,

  • Eight schools were provided with water supply sources and ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines,

  • Hygiene education was promoted in all schools targeted for UNICEF rehabilitation support

  • Construction of 43 latrines in IDP reception sites in the Bouenza region, 20 latrines in the reception centres in Brazzaville and 6 latrines in Kindamba district, Pool region. Hygiene education campaigns were undertaken in the sites in co-operation with CARITAS and CRS, partner NGOs.
Child and women protection

Major social mobilization and advocacy efforts on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women has been initiated at all levels, including the protection of children and women in situations of armed conflict,

267 personnel from the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Education (MOE) and NGOs were trained on psycho-trauma counseling,

Trauma counseling for 30,000 children was initiated in schools,

Over 300 sexually abused girls and women were rehabilitated in collaboration with ACOLVF (partner NGO),

Assistance to 1,500 street children in Brazzaville, Pointe Noire and Dolise was undertaken in cooperation with the IRC through the establishment of reception centres, provision of skills training and job placement, family reunification, insertion in schools, medical treatment, and cultural animations in the centres,

A survey on child labor and child soldiers has been conducted and findings were used in developing projects to address these issues,

In the recent armed conflict situation in the Pool, UNICEF is closely working with MOH, MSF and ACOLVF to protect displaced women and children through the following:

  • a) provision of trauma counselling for over 2,000 persons including 580 school children affected by the armed conflict,
  • b) training of 115 teachers and volunteers on psycho-trauma counselling,
  • c) 45 rape cases were reported and assisted with medical, laboratory testing including HIV/AIDS tests,
  • d) trauma counselling was also provided in the reception centres, and
  • e) 43 unaccompanied children were assisted in tracing their parents in the sites.
3. 2002 APPEAL REQUIREMENTS AND RECEIPT

The overall donor response to the humanitarian appeals has been extremely low for 2002, covering only 17 percent of the total funding requirements for both the UN Plan 2002 for the Republic of Congo launched in January and the Flash Appeal launched in April. The Flash Appeal received only US$ 280,391, while the 2002 UN Plan obtained only US$ 226,765 funding support. The table below details the funds received for both appeals, by sector:

Table 1. TOTAL REQUIREMENTS AND FUNDING FOR 2002 AS OF 17 JANUARY 2003

Sector
Target (US$)
Funded (US$)
% Funded
Unfunded (US$)
A) UN Plan 2002
Health and Nutrition
2,000,000
363,000
19
1,637,000
Education
200,000
47,620
24
152,380
Child Protection
1,330,000
190,480
15
1,139,520
Basic services
500,000
500,000
Women's Development
350,000
350,000
Sub-total
4,380,000
601,100
14
3,778,900
B) Flash Appeal for the IDPs from Pool region
Health and Nutrition
375,000
70,000
19
305,000
Education
175,000
175,000
Shelter & non food supplies
350,000
187,404*
54
162,596
Child Protection
150,000
37,000
25
113,000
Sub-total
1,050,000
294,404
27
755,596
Grand Total
5,430,000
895,504
17
4,534,496

*Includes logistics and admin support costs

Table 2. FUNDS RECEIVED FOR FLASH APPEAL AND 2002 UN PLAN BY DONOR AS OF 17 JANUARY 2003

Donors
Income/Pledge (US$)
New Zealand Government
47,619
Belgium Government
294,405
Swedish Government
190,480
UNDP
363,000
Total
895,504

4. 2003 APPEAL REQUIREMENTS

The table below outlines funding requirements for 2003:

Table 3: FUNDING REQUIREMENTS FOR 2003

Sector
Funds required (US$)*
Health
1,250,000
Nutrition
275,000
Water
725,000
Protection of children and women
1,165,000
Basic Services
2,475,000
Communication
175,000
Total
6,065,000

*Appeal figures reflect requirements for the first year of the two-year UN Plan 2003-2004

5. THE IMPACT OF UNDER FUNDING

Despite only 17 percent of resource needs having been met so far, considerable progress has been made to address the needs of affected women and children in the Republic of Congo. The wide shortfall in funding is having a major impact on the efforts of UNICEF and its partners on wider coverage of project beneficiaries including the expansion of activities to other needy and underserved areas.

The table below outlines the most urgent needs:

Table 4: PRIORITY REQUIREMENTS AS OF JANUARY 2003

Sector Purpose
Funding needs (US$)
Health - Material assistance for the rehabilitation of primary health care units,
- Supply of basic medical kits and equipment,
- Supply of vaccines and cold chain equipment/spare parts,
-Training of health workers.
800,000
Nutrition - Supply of BP-5 biscuits and therapeutic milk,
- Supply of mebendazole and Vitamin A. supplements,
- Supply of weighing scales and other equipment.
200,000
Education - Supply of education kits, toys and sports equipment,
- Supply of benches and other equipment,
- Support to training of volunteer teachers,
- Support for remedial make-up classes for children who have stopped schooling.
650,000
Water and sanitation - Support for the rehabilitation of water supply sources and latrines in schools,
- Support for the construction of communal water supply sources and hand pumps,
- Construction of latrines in the reception centres including hygiene promotion.
250,000
Total
1,900,000

Details of the Republic of Congo Programme can be obtained from:

Raymond Janssens
Representative
UNICEF, Brazzaville
Tel: 242-815024
Fax: 242-814240
E-mail: rjanssens@unicef.org

Olivier Degreef
UNICEF EMOPS
Geneva
Tel: + 41 22 909 5546
Fax: + 41 22 909 5902
E-mail: odegreef@unicef.org

Dan Rohrmann
UNICEF PFO
New York
Tel: + 1 212 326 7009
Fax: + 1 212 326 7165
E-mail: drohrmann@unicef.org