Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau Humanitarian Situation Report, 10 Feb 1999

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POLITICO MILITARY SITUATION
1. A breakthrough in the process towards implementation of the Abuja agreement? A tri-partite commission (involving the three Chiefs of Staff of the Loyalists, junta and ECOMOG) was created. It resulted in a comprehensive plan for the disarmament and the quartering of troops, and the withdrawal of the foreign troops from Guinea Bissau starting on 10 February (with a first group of 1,200 soldiers leaving by 14 February) and ending on 28 February 1999. According to the international and local press, the document was proposed to President Vieira who did not reply to it as yet.

2. The information was most welcome among the population of Guinea Bissau despite a level of skepticism after the repeated violations of previous cease-fire and peace agreement.

3. The remaining ECOMOG troops (140 Gambian soldiers) will arrive in Bissau tonight or early tomorrow morning, according to the Portuguese television.

4. Ms Emma Bonino of ECHO will visit Guinea Bissau on Sunday, 14 February, in the context of a regional visit that will take her to Conakry and Dakar, Senegal.

HUMANITARIAN IMPACT

5. The assessment of population affected by the recent conflict is in progress but remain a difficult exercise to complete as the movement has not stopped. Last three days population assessment, done simultaneously in and around Bissau, show an important change in the distribution of the population. Assessment of population was also extended in other northern regions of Gabu, Oio and Bafata.

6. According to National Commission's source, there are about 75,000 to 80,000 people in Bissau of which 68,000 have already received a food ration. In Safim, the displaced population is now estimated at 49,000. The rapid increase in Safim is explained by three factors: population from Bissau continues to leave the city; population from Cumura and Prabis (west of Bissau) took opportunity of the cease-fire to move out of those two places as they are inaccessible during fighting; the recent evaluation includes Safim town and a number of "tabancas" (Bissau-Guinean villages) around Safim.

7. As a consequence of the above, the number of IDPs in Cumura is now estimated at 20,000 people. In Prabis, the number of displaced also diminished but no new assessment was completed as yet.

8. Assessment was completed in Nhacra which has about 2,500 people including local residents and IDPs. Local authority has been asked to produce a new list distinguishing between the two categories. A similar situation exists in Oio region where 127,000 people are said to be in need of humanitarian assistance, including the urban population who did not have any salaries or other revenues since the beginning of the conflict in June and the recent IDPs. A breakdown of the two categories will be produced later this week.

9. A meeting was held, on 9 February 1999, with Commissaire Diop of the Ministry of Interior to review the issue of access to Guinea Bissau by road. Participated in the meeting representatives of the UN, ECHO, MSF and ICRC. He presented a briefing of a meeting held in Kolda by the crisis committee which provides assurance to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian supplies through Wassadou. However, the delivery of fuel will continue to present problems.

HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

10. 150 MT of rice have been transported from Bafata to Cumura, part of which was immediately distributed and another part constitute a stock for future need.

11. The vaccination campaign against meningitis started in Bafata. But in the mean time a recent epidemiological survey shows that there are, in Bafata region, 18 cases of which 2 deaths, in Oio, 27 cases and 7 deaths.

12. UN flight will resume to Bafata as of Thursday, 11 February 1999. They will be reduced since there are limited funds available.

13. The UN system issued a Press release concerning the global situation in Guinea Bissau and the humanitarian response provided until. The communiqué attracts the attention to the very limited amount of humanitarian supplies in the country.

14. Other humanitarian contributions include: the delivery, by France, on Tuesday, of a Spanish NGO (Medicos Solidarios de Catalaña) donated stock of medical and other emergency supplies; a plane freighted by AMI, a Portuguese NGO, which flew in Guinea Bissau with medical supplies; Another flight planned from Portugal with food and medical supplies to Bissau.

Resident Coordinator a.i.
OCHA - Guinea Bissau

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.