Eritrea: Humanitarian Update 31 May 2005


OCHA in collaboration and consultation with the UN agencies, NGOs, Government and donors has been conducting Mid Year Review of the Eritrea 2005 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal. So far, OCHA has compiled the final draft of the MYR and would be submitted to OCHA Geneva by the first week of June. The Eritrea CAP 2005, was launched in November 2004 requesting US $ 157.2 million to implement 24 projects aiming at life saving and to a limited extent in provision of basic recovery to some 2.2 million vulnerable people affected by the recurrent drought and lingering effects of the war. According to OCHA Geneva Tracking System, the donor response to the Eritrea 2005 CAP stands at 12.2%.

OCHA conducted field assessment in Northern Red Sea from 16-20 May 2005 and reported high rates of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) in the zone. In areas visited such as Adobha, Karura, Nakfa and Afabet the GAM is reported to be16.6% and in sub zones of Foro and Gelaelo it reaches13.9% higher than the WHO threshold of 10%. In addition, there is dire shortage of water supply both for humans and animals particularly in Dahlak Islands. The people have to pay Nakfa 40 (US $ 2.7) per barrel, which at times even goes up to Nakf a 70 (US $ 4.7) per barrel. In addition to the Islands, Afabet, Nakfa, and Adobha sub zones are also in critical water supply condition. It is reported that 80,000 people are rendered dependent on water trucking assistance in the zone.

OCHA further reported that a flood resulted from the recent torrential rainfall in the highlands has destroyed 204 houses, 20 embankments, and small diversion canals in Bada and Alhargale administration areas in the Gelaelo sub zone, in Northern Red Sea. In addition, 418 goats and sheep, and 17 camels were lost to the flood. According to the local authorities from the area no assistance has been provided to the victims and the affected households are living with members of the villages whose shelter were not affected by the flood.

WFP reported increasing admissions of malnourished children to the therapeutic feeding ward in the western part of the country, due to lack of appropriate food, clean water and poor sanitation. Despite availability of food in the market, prices have increased considerably, and many people can no longer afford to purchase sufficient food.

During the month of May, 6 Eritrean Deming Operations (EDO) Mine Risk Education (MRE) Teams targeted 8,577 people out of which 6,784 were children. MRE community volunteers targeted 1,529 adults and 805 children. UNICEF and UNMACC jointly participated in celebrations to mark Peacekeepers Day, where children from different schools in Asmara were given MRE sessions and played MRE games.

UNICEF and WHO Support the Ministry of Health on Polio Campaign

To protect Eritrean children from contracting polio especially after the recent outbreak in Sudan, Ethiopia and Yemen, MOH supported by UNICEF and WHO carried out the second round of Polio National Immunization Days (NIDs) and Vitamin A supplementation during the second week of May- ( 13-15 May 2005). The campaign targeted almost half a million children under 5 years of age. Preliminary reports indicate that the coverage of second round of polio vaccination and Vitamin A supplementation will be over 90% as compared to the 89.7% of the first round.

UNICEF Implements Water Projects and Promotes Hygiene

A UNICEF supported national workshop was held in Massawa to enhance the Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) methodology through the elaboration of an implementation guideline for sanitation and hygiene promotion. The Ministries of Health, Education, and local government participated in the workshop together with the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, UNHCR and NGOs. UNICEF also supported the construction of VIP latrines for 150 families as part of sanitation and hygiene promotion in Afabet Town. The design of the latrines including the roofing was introduced in the country for the first time and was well accepted by the community.

Two UNICEF supported rural water supply projects in Maekel and Debub regions, worth USD 246,185 were completed and handed over to the communities. A total of 6,000 people in the two project villages, Adi-shimagle and Afelba will benefit from the projects that will contribute to improved hygiene and the decrease of water-born diseases.

CARE International Humanitarian Interventions

CARE has been implementing an integrated and geographically focused program appr oach to address the humanitarian needs in Eritrea. Recently, CARE received funding from the Government of Norway to implement two projects, namely, Integrated Livelihood Security Project in Mai Mine and Women's Empowerment Project in Tserona and Senafe. These projects in partnership with Haben, Vision Eritrea, Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health, complement existing agriculture, water, livestock and livelihood projects supported by USAID and Canadian CIDA in the Central Sector of Temporary Security Zone (Debub zone).

In May, one water pond was completed in Meqaber Tsabla village and the construction of a second pond has commenced in Mai Nehayug. Two rangeland enclosures (200ha) will be reseeded in June with 600 kg of grass seed and legumes to increase availability of animal feed. A total of 14 saving and credit member associations were established in these villages to diversify income-generating opportunities. In June, support will be given to the Mai Mine sub zone veterinary service that will include training 54 farmers on community based animal health issues. In addition, veterinary equipment and supplies will be provided to the zonal office.

In Tserona and Mai Aini, CARE is supporting farmers with land preparation, vegetable seed distribution and irrigated farming. To date, 481 farmers received 246kg of seed and had 197 hectares of land prepared for cultivation. In addition, 77 wells were deepened and are fully functional in the two sub zones. These wells will be used for all-year irrigated farming.


The UNMEE Mine Action Coordination Center (MACC) continued to coordinate, task and monitor the demining assets of the Peace Keeping Force (PKF) to protect and ensure the mobility of the Peacekeeping Force elements and to support the overall objectives of the Mission. The demining assets continued to operate in the Sector West of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ). In total, the PKF assets cleared an area of 205,351 square meters and disposed of 32 Unexploded Ordnance (UXO).

MECHEM, the commercial road clearance contractor of the MACC, continued to verify and clear roads in Sector West, Gash Barka zone. Accordingly, MECHEM verified 91 km of roads, destroyed 3 anti-personnel (AP) mines and disposed of 58 UXO. The Integrated Demining Capacity (IDC) Team of MECHEM carried out integrated demining operations in the Sheshebit minefield in Sector West where the Team cleared an area of 321,688 square meters.

The MACC Mine Risk Education (MRE) Field Teams deployed to Sector West and Sector Center have been visiting a number of communities and provided MRE lessons to 1647 people. The MACC Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Field Team deployed to Tserona and Senafe in Sector Center and to Shilalo in Sector West dealt with a number of UXO discoveries and thus disposed 31 UXO and destroyed two AP mines.

A nine-person team from the Norwegian Advisory Council for Disarmament and Security Affairs visited the UNMEE MACC Demining Coordination Centre in mid-May 2005. The delegation viewed integrated demining operations and received briefings from the DCC, Kenyan and Bangladesh demining components.

There were no reports of mine/UXO accidents in May. The "Mine and UXO Threat Assessment" for the Mission area was updated and distributed.

UNDP Mine Action Capacity Building Program

The Ministry of Labour and Human Welfare has given training to EDO and UNMEE MACC Mine Risk Education (MRE) teams on establishment of a referral system for landmine survivors to orthopedic workshops.

The UNDP Mine Action Capacity Building programme continue to face difficulties due to confiscation of government project plated vehicles used by Eritrean Demining Agency (EDA) and Eritrean Demining Operations (EDO). All operations ceased since 8 April 2005 and negotiations are still in progress regarding the release of these vehicles. Mine Risk Education and Victim Support activities are still being maintained and have only marginally been affected by the current events.

For Further Information Related to the Humanitarian Update, Please contact:

OCHA - Eritrea Public Information Section at 291-1-151666/151888, Fax- 291-1-151999, e-mail:


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