Guinea-Bissau

Humanitarian Situation Report: Guinea-Bissau - 27 November - 3 December 1998

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


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

Today (3 December) LUSA and in-country sources reported that the Mixed Executive Commission has designated Mr. Francisco Fadul as the new Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau.

Reports from the field continue to describe Bissau as calm but somewhat tense.

The first meeting of the National Assembly was held for the first time last week and on Friday November 27 voted unanimously that the President should step down "as the best contribution that the President can currently make to the people of Guinea Bissau".

Brigadier General Ansumane Mane travelled last week to the east of the country where it is suggested that Junta forces may be losing patience with the slow implementation of the peace agreement/departure of President Vieira.

Last Thursday (26 November) the Joint Commission and Ambassadors currently resident in Bissau visited the site of the limited shooting which took place on Sunday 22 November. Considerable time was invested in speaking to both sides to calm tensions.

Guinea Bissau was included on the agenda of the Franco/African summit last week.

The President of Mozambique stated on Thursday 26 November that President Vieira would be welcome in Mozambique. Earlier this year, the French and Portuguese Governments extended similar invitations.

Earlier reports suggested that the first ECOMOG deployment of interposition forces would arrive by the end of November/early December.

The UN Mission which left today 3 December for Bissau is scheduled to meet with the ECOMOG Special Envoy in addition to prominent Government and Military Junta representatives. (The UN Mission will return to Dakar on Saturday 5 December).

SECURITY

According to information sources of the UN Field Security Officer, the peacekeeping capability already present in Senegal includes 95 vehicles.

Sitrep 29 (20 Nov.) reported that the road between Prabis/Cumura/Bissau is now open as the result of an agreement reached by the Mixed Commission. Recent reports confirm that the check points on the main road into Bissau have been removed and that access is much easier.

Population movements: In spite of the improved access into Bissau, (above), few people appear to be returning to Bissau for the time-being. UNHCR estimates that 1/5 of Bissau inhabitants have returned (60,000) with the majority of the displaced population awaiting the departure of the Senegalese and Guinea Conakry soldiers and the arrival of the ECOMOG interposition forces.

A UNICEF Medical Doctor (Guinea Bissau national) met personally with Mr. Ansumane Mane last week to discuss the return of health service vehicles in Gabu. Brigadier General Mane promised to return two of the three currently being used by the Junta, and one of these has already been returned.

Following written requests and discussions, UNHCR has recovered their Bissau administrative vehicle which was requisitioned by the Military Junta and located one of two additional vehicles in their use.

FAO is has contacted the Military Junta concerning two project vehicles which have not yet been returned and are causing a delay in implementation of a seed distribution project for Bafata and Gabu.

HUMANITARIAN IMPACT

CARITAS has recently returned from Bolama and reports that this area has been under served during the conflict due to its isolation. CARITAS is in discussions with WFP in order to provide assistance to an estimated 15,000 affected population.

HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

Issues of Access into Guinea Bissau

Two CARITAS trucks delayed at the Wassadou border of Senegal last week were eventually permitted to travel on Friday 10 AM (ref. Sitrep no. 30, 26 November). Caritas plans to make regular bi-monthy shipments with the next planned for next Wed/Thursday (9 -10 December);

Agriculture

FAO undertook a technical support mission in Guinea Bissau from 23-26 November (as a follow-up to a 12-16 November mission) with the following objectives:

  • Evaluation of data collected thus far concerning programme implementation in Gabu and Bafata (in the context of humanitarian assistance project TCP/GBS/7821”E” – urgent supply of agricultural inputs to individuals affected by the crisis in Guinea Bissau);
  • Distribution of vegetable seeds;
  • Initiation of activities for UNDP project UNDP/GBS/96/006 and discussions with relevant implementing partners.

The project UNDP/GBS/96/006 is destined for technical assistance to women small-scale farmers in the green belt zone of Bissau.

Health

UNICEF reports that with the onset of the cool/dry season, diarrhoeal diseases and vector-borne diseases are less apt to be prevalent and measles and meningitis are now identified as the greatest health risks.

Tuberculosis treatments have been delivered to Gabu, Oio, Bafata and Cacheu/San Domingos (UNICEF).

Since September, UNICEF has provided incentive payments to Guinea Bissau health staff (Nationals) thereby supporting the health system. Recently, incentives were paid in Oio.

The UNICEF/MSF immunisation campaign planned for 29 November began on 2 December due to the transport and fuel problems described in Sitrep 30.

Bafata/Gabu : the UNICEF O-I-C and Netherlands First Secretary recently undertook an on-site visit to some health facilities.

CARITAS: On the Friday 27 November ECHO flight, CARITAS shipped 1.2 MTs essential drugs to Guinea Bissau. Of this, 900 kilos were destined for Bafata, distribution 21 health centres health posts and pharmacies countrywide run by Catholic Missions. 300 kilos went to Bissau with final destination Bubaque.

MSF has been notified that there have been recent cases of measles among children in Bissau. In response, MSF is completing an evaluation to determine whether a measles intervention will be required.

ICRC announced that work has begun to rehabilitate small sections of the Simon Mendes National Hospital (Bissau) which were damaged during the crisis. Priority was given to the x-ray building.

Water/Sanitation

Gabu: UNICEF recently verified the water quality of four bore holes in the Gabu area as satisfactory.

Bafata: Work on the water system of Bairro 4 of Bafata now completed. Work has begun on the water system of Sonaco.

Safim: UNICEF has now constructed a total of eleven (11) latrines in Safim, with five latrines recently completed and a total of six (6) wells improved.

Education

UNICEF reports that as of 23 November, a number of primary schools have resumed in Bafata. In addition, parent/teacher associations have resumed in Nema and Ponte Nova. Schools in Bambadinca, Cosse, Xitole and Contubuel are scheduled to reopen soon and to assist in the preparations, UNICEF recently met with school directors from these communities. In Gabu/Bafata data is being collected to determine educational resources/requirements (eg. available teachers, schools and registration of students). Schools in Biombo are currently being utilised by displaced populations. UNICEF is approaching ICRC in hopes that tents may be provided for the IDPs.

Food Distribution/Stocks/Pipeline

WFP reports as from Sitrep No. 19 as follows:

WFP citation begins:

FOOD DISTRIBUTION

WFP Warehouse in Bafata (as of 22.11.98)
(unit :ton)

Product
Quantities in MTs
Initial stockDeliveriesClosing stock
M/Meal
1.17501.175
Veg. Oil
67.02.364.70
CSB
7.72507.725
W/Flour
529.3730529.373
Rice
27.43719.108.337
TOTAL
632.7121.40611.310

N.B. The previous Sitrep 18/98 had an error in the stock of maize meal.

In addition, WFP has still in ADPP warehouse in Gabu the following stock: 42 MTs of rice , 40 MTs of CSB and 256.5 MTs of wheat flour. At the WFP warehouse in Bissau, 15.1 MTs of sugar and 104.2 MTs corn beef are available. Some maize meal, rice, canned fish from Portugal as bilateral donation are also available. 400 MTs of rice purchased by EU has been distributed to the IDPs in Prabis and Cumura.

Pipeline including loans from other projects/countries

Commodity
SI/RISI
Q’ties (MTs)
Donors
ETA GUB
Remarks
Rice
9840070
779.28
WFP I.C.
Nov/Dec 98
9840211/212
88.30
Swed/Fin
Nov/Dec.98
9860395
1000.0
USA
Dec.98
Local purchase
9840211/212
1700
Swed/Fin
Nov/Dec.98
Total
3,567.58
Green peas
9840092
500.00
WFP Ckry
Nov/Dec.98
Beans
980388
248.00
Germany
Dec.98/Jan.99
Local purchase TBC
Veg.Oil
9840138
200.0
WFP Ckry
Nov/Dec.98
9840229
251.16
USA
Nov/Dec.98
9840228
257.60
USA
Nov/Dec.98
Total
708.76
Wheatflour
9840103/140
213.15
WFP Ckry
Nov/Dec.98
Bulgar wheat
9840091
500.00
WFP Ckry
Dec98/Jan99
9840133/137
888.00
WFP Ckry
Dec98/Jan.99
9840231
8300.00
USA
Jan.99
Total
9901.15
CSB
9840132
265.00
WFP Ckry
Nov.8/Jan.99
980388
1435.00
Germany
Jan.Feb.99
Total
1700.00
MONITORING

A WFP food monitor (UNV) arrived in Dakar on 26 Nov. He will be assigned in Bafata on 30 Nov. and replaces the former UNV from Guinea Conakry.

In Bafata, WFP started discussions with one major bakery on the exchange of wheat flour against baked bread. A contract will be soon finalised to have bread distributed to the WFP assisted primary schools.

One WFP Emergency Officer and one UNV in charge of storage will visit Bissau from Bafata on frequent basis to monitor the situation. In addition, one WFP Emergency Assistant to be stationed in Bissau will be recruited to strengthen WFP presence.

The visit to the WFP warehouse in Bissau on 25th November found out that some maize meal donated by Portugal was stored there for distribution to the affected population. This distribution undermines the earlier concern of the Minister of Health, Chairman of the National Commission, on the unacceptability of the WFP supplied maize meal.

WFP citation ends.

ICRC announced that the Red Cross Guinea Bissau organised the census and food distribution of five sections of the city of Bissau providing 1.5 kg. Each for 14,000 persons (approximately 20 MTs). This week, and additional 5 areas were scheduled to receive food distribution.

Refugees

UNHCR’s objectives as cited in the 1999 UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Guinea Bissau currently being finalised in Geneva, are:

  • Assure the security and well-being of some 5,400 Senegalese refugees in Guinea Bissau;
  • Begin the organised voluntary repatriation of approximately 5,300 Guinea Bissau refugees as soon as conditions permit their safe and appropriate return;
  • Ensure minimal facilities in the principal areas of return in order that refugees and displaced persons may begin new lives.

Thiès (Senegal):

Population

  • 20 Nov.: 903 refugees registered of whom 713 resident;
  • 27 Nov.: approximately 941 registered of whom 715 resident.

Population movements since last report: 38 arrivals of whom 9 from Dakar, one from Kaolack and 28 from Bissau, by road.

Site visits to the camp:

  • 21 Nov.: visit of UNHCR (programme and protection) for routine follow-up and review of the conditions of refugees currently detained in the Thiès prison.
  • 21 Nov: visit of CONGAD and the group Solidarité au Réfugiés to discuss food needs and child and student refugees in the camp.

Contributions provided:
  • 21 Nov: Caritas provided milk for the refugees;
  • 25 Nov: Radda Barnen and the Minister of Education of Guinea Bissau provided milk and bread in order to provide for children’s breakfast food.

Programmes:

Health, education and physical education activities continue as planned. In terms of movement, refugees indicate that they do not anticipate a return to Guinea Bissau before the elections scheduled for March 1999 according to the Abuja agreement. In the meantime, they express an interest in undertaking micro-projects including horticulture, production and sale of food and clothing items.

Gambia:

In November, all Guinea Bissau refugees who entered by recognised borders have been given asylum and were registered by the Department of Immigration. All twenty new arrivals are resident with family and friends in urban zones and only require health assistance. UNHCR formal aid (food, health, income generation and education) is limited to the refugee camp. After the signing of the Abuja Peace Accord, about 38 male refugees spontaneously returned to Bissau. Many who were registered and lived in urban zones returned without notifying the Immigration authorities or UNHCR.

Statistics:

  • New Arrivals from 1 – 23 November: 20 refugees;
  • Resident Population on the Kwinella site (23 Nov.): 73 refugees;
  • Total registered by the Department of Immigration (23 Nov): 1,134 refugees.

Cape Verde:

A representative of the UNHCR Regional Delegation undertook a mission in Praia (Cape Verde) from 24-27 November with the following objectives:

  • Evaluation of the general situation of Guinea Bissau refugees in Cape Verde and preparation of a seminar on legal aspects of protection from 14-18 December;
  • Discuss with UN Agencies the support that they (UNDP, UNICEF, WFP and WHO) could provide for Guinea Bissau refugees in Cape Verde;
  • Analyse the projects initiated by two partners: (1) the Cape Verdian Institute of Solidarity (ICS); and the (2) Cape Verdian Red Cross (CVCV).
  • Visit the San Jorginho and Trinidade.

Statistics:
  • Reception Centre San Jorginho: 70
  • Reception Centre Trinidade: 155
  • With Host Families 179

OCHA Office in Bafata

On Monday, 1 December, the OCHA Humanitarian Affairs Officer left Dakar by road with all necessary authorisations. After a 19 hour delay at the border, the group was allowed to travel out of Senegal. The OCHA Officer is accompanied by a Canadian Government representative and the AFVP with the following agenda:

  • Site visit to agricultural areas with FCIL (Canadian Fund) and AFVP;
  • Set –up of OCHA office, Bafata.

UNOCHA/NGO meetings continue on a weekly basis in Dakar. At a recent OCHA/NGO meeting, OCHA shared a draft document giving initial population estimates for Guinea Bissau (residents and IDPs). The draft is based on information collected from NGOs currently working in Guinea Bissau and is intended to serve as a starting point to stimulate information-sharing among UN Agencies/NGOs concerning population data.

DONOR MISSIONS/DONOR RESPONSE

ECHO- The Regional Representative is scheduled to return from Guinea Bissau on 8 December after finishing a series of site visits throughout Guinea Bissau in order to assess activities of NGOs both currently financed by ECHO/seeking finances from ECHO. OCHA is awaiting official notification of the allocation of 2 million ECUs anticipated for humanitarian assistance programmes in Guinea Bissau.

USAID- A food aid delegation is currently in Dakar primarily for meetings with WFP.

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

Complex Emergency Response Branch (CERB) - Geneva
Mr. Ernest Chipman - Chief
Mr. Thierry Delbreuve
Tel.: (41 22) 917.1638
Fax: (41 22) 917.03.68
Registry E-Mail: info@dha.unicc.org

Emergency Liaison Branch (ELB)-New York
Mr. Ramesh Rajasingham
Tel.: (1 212) 963.0308
Fax: (1 212) 963.3630
E-Mail : rajasingham@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/.