Guinea-Bissau

Humanitarian Situation Report: Guinea-Bissau, 2 November 1998

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
REG. NO. 98/0312
UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED, ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT HAS BEEN COLLECTED IN-COUNTRY BY OCHA FROM THE UN, NGOS & ICRC NETWORK IN GUINEA BISSAU

POLITICO-MILITARY SITUATION

In Aduja, Nigeria the talks between President Vieira and Brigadier Asoumane Mane developed over the weekend, concluding with the signature of a peace agreement signed by both parties and witnessed by the Head of State of Nigeria; President of the Republic of the Gambia; Minister of Communications of the Togolese Republic; the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and the OAU Representative, dated 1 November 1998.

Elements of the agreement include:

  • Re-affirmation of cease-fire agreed last August;
  • With drawl of all foreign troops with simultaneous deployment of ECOMOG interposition force;
  • Guarantee of free access to humanitarian organisations and agencies;
  • The immediate opening of the Oswaldo Vieira (Bissau) airport and the sea-port;
  • The creation of a government of national unity;
  • Holding of legislative and presidential elections not later than the end of March 1999.
Initial indications from UN sources based in Guinea Bissau suggest that the population is accepting the Vieira/Mane announcement with some scepticism or at best caution until such time as both leaders have returned to Guinea Bissau and more information is revealed at a local level. This reaction is not surprising after that Bissau-Guineans received the August cease-fire announcement with enthusiasm and then fighting resumed again in early October.

HUMANITARIAN IMPACT

Ship from Bissau - A humanitarian emergency evolved over the weekend which appears to be under control at time of writing (Monday, 19:00). On Friday, 30 October, a non-passenger ship carrying around 165 people entered the waters outside of the Port of Dakar. All passengers were Bissau-Guineans who had departed Bissau on Thursday. The Senegalese authorities did not allow the ship to dock on the grounds that it was not authorised to carry passengers. A woman had died sometime during the journey and four passengers needed medical treatment. On Saturday, four individuals (three sick and one wounded) were allowed to leave the ship for medical treatment, and the woman's corpse was taken to the morgue.

Throughout the weekend, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, OCHA and UNDP were standing by and preparing to deliver humanitarian assistance should it be required. (UNICEF has access to food stores and UNV/UNDP has four medical doctors). UNHCR followed the concern throughout the weekend on behalf of the passengers, contacting the Senegalese authorities (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Defense, and the Presidency including Brigadier General Nelson). In this process, UNHCR learned that the ship's manager was faulty on administration issues including taking passengers on board when his ship had been authorised only for freight. The ship had been chartered by a Member of Parliament of Guinea Bissau. On mid-day Sunday, a few passengers who could prove that they were only transiting through Dakar for international travel were given permission to leave. By Sunday late afternoon, the Senegalese authorities gave permission to the ship to berth and passengers to disembark.

HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

WFP confirmed today that the balance of 150 MTs from Bafata reached Safim, so this plan for food pre-positioning is complete.

In Dakar, UN Agencies met again today to further develop a multi-sectoral common humanitarian assistance programme which will be the basis of the 1999 UN Consolidated Appeal due to be completed later this month.

This report is available on the internet through RELIEFWEB: http://www.reliefweb.int

Complex Emergency Response / Consolidated Appeal Process (CER/CAP) - Geneva
Mr. Ernest Chipman - Chief
Mr. Thierry Delbreuve
Tel.: (41 22) 788.7019
Fax: (41 22) 788.6386
Registry E-Mail: Annette.Choquet@dha.unicc.org

Complex Emergencies Division (CED) - New York
Mr. Yvon Madore
Tel.: (1 212) 963.1627
Fax: (1 212) 963.1388
E-Mail : madore@un.org

Information Service
Ms. Thérèse Gastaut - Director
Tel.: (41 22) 917.2300
Fax: (41 22) 917.0030
E-Mail: tgastaut@unog.ch

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