Liberia Humanitarian Situation Update No. 86
3- 6 February 2004
UNICEF facilitated a Consultative Conference with government representatives, civil-society leaders and children on Tuesday, 27 January. The conference objective was to gather information on the situation of children in the country and the status of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Liberian Convention on the Rights of the Child Country Report is due for review in May 2004. Drawing from the issues emerging from the Consultative Conference, UNICEF will participate in the pre-session working group to be held in Geneva on Wednesday 4 February.
The first emergency food distribution for local communities in the Tubmanburg since early 2002 was conducted by WFP on 2 February. 4, 580 vulnerable people in the former stronghold of the LURD benefited from this activity. In the month of February, WFP plans to distribute 6,777 Mt of food to 531,693 people under various feeding programmes such as IDPs, refugees, under the Emergency School Feeding, DDRR, Food-for-Work, Special feeding and Institutional feeding programmes. WFP's operations now extend to 7 counties including Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bomi, Bong, Grand Gedeh and Nimba. A total of 325,000 IDPs are expected to benefit from WFP food aid assistance this month.
Data collection for the Vulnerability Analysis Mapping (VAM) baseline survey in Totota, Salala and Kakata was completed late last week. Analysis of the data is ongoing and results will be available in mid-February.
An exemption from the National Port Authority (NPA) vehicle access passes for all UN vehicles has been negotiated by WFP, UNJLC and UNMIL. In addition, a reduced rate has been negotiated on behalf of the NGO community. In mid January the NPA decided to impose the payment of an annual gate pass for all vehicles and trucks entering the port. Further to negotiations between the UN and NPA, port charges were harmonized for all UN agencies and UNMIL. This represents a 50-60% reduction in all handling charges as well as a 15% reduction in maritime charges. On 2 February, WFP received 10 trucks, 3 Jeeps and 3 forklifts that arrived on-board the M/V DANSUS. The breakdown of the NPA top-lifts continues to hamper WFP' port operations, delaying the reception of containers from the container yard.
3. Disarmament Demobilization, Rehabilitation & Reintegration
A DDRR technical committee meeting was held on 4 February 2004. The final revised plan for the overall process in all identified areas will be available next week.
The selected disarmament and Demobilization sites are in Buchanan, Tubmanburg, Gbarnga and around VOA camp in Montserrado County. A number of NGOs were identified and invited for the construction of the demobilization sites. Sensitization is ongoing according to schedule and will finish in Bopolu on the 7th of February with a few remote areas to be visited later.
4. Up Country Missions
An assessment mission to Tubmanburg by WFP on 2 February found that a significant number of IDPs mainly from Montserrado have reportedly returned to 12 villages and have begun reconstructing their houses in anticipation of the rainy season that starts in April. Following discussions with the County superintendent and representatives from various districts and villages, the team observed that the main source of income for people in Tubmanburg is palm oil production. IDPs returning were observed to have limited access to food due to a weakened agricultural production system as a result of the war. Community leaders have appealed for assistance in rehabilitating several bridges to improve access to some of the villages. The assessment team recommended that further to a verification of the civil administration list of registered vulnerable people, WFP has planned food distributions in Tubmanburg and surrounding villages to be carried out in Mid-February. UNMIL will be requested for security escort.
An assessment mission to Buchanan by WFP and Catholic Relief Services from 3-4 February was to verify the IDP caseload in preparation for upcoming distributions later in the month. The team also assessed the institutional feeding and nutritional programmes.
On 3 February, a security assessment mission to Bopolu, Gbarpolu County comprised UNSECOORD, UNHCR and OCHA observed en-route that the local population is returning on foot and rebuilding their homes. People talked to have informed the team that due to improved security as a result of UNMIL's deployment they were encouraged to return to those areas but noted that especially children were left in IDP camps, as they are too small to take the 6 -12 hours walk. In Bopolu, a medical kit was given by WHO to a health clinic that needs to be replenished. ICRC is also conducting a five-day assessment in four localities to gather data on the population and to be able to do distribution of agricultural tools and seeds rendering weekly medical assistance.
On 5 February, WFP began a 3-day rapid vulnerability assessment in Tubmanburg where clustering and collection of secondary data is being carried out.
6. IDPs, Refugees and Protection
A verification of caseloads of IDP camps up-country has been completed by the WFP. The interagency verification teams which included the participation of WFP' implementing partners in the camps visited 5 IDP camps around Montserrado and 7 IDP camps in Totota, Salala and Kakata. Information on the updated number of beneficiaries is being processed and will be used for this month's distribution. WFP is currently preparing ration cards for IDPs in these 12 camps.
HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES BY SECTOR
7. Food Aid
The following distributions for IDPs were carried out from 29 to 3 February 2004
Due to security considerations, the planned distribution to 6,000 beneficiaries in Tappita is expected to be carried out as this week by WFP' implementing partner YMCA. WFP is expanding the Emergency School Feeding programme to schools in Margibi County. In conjunction with the Ministry of Education and with the implementing partner ADRA, WFP carried out an extensive assessment of 99 schools in the County.
In Margibi, an initial 72 schools have integrated the programme. A total of 24,000 children will receive 104 Mt of assorted food commodities in February.
The WFP Liberia pipeline outlook remains good, as requirements will be covered until end of June 2004.
8. Health and Nutrition
Vaccination activities are now ongoing in districts throughout the country. Since June 2003, a total of 773,500 children have been vaccinated, from a total target population of 1.4 million children six months to 15 years. The measles campaign was completed last week in 4 IDP camps in Salala district, Bong County. External supervisory visits by the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO and implementing partners suggest that the measles campaign quality is high and waste management has improved. With UNICEF's support, intermediate cold chains are currently being placed in Tubmanburg, Buchanan and Zwedru. UNICEF is also providing ICRC and the Lofa County Health Team with cold chain equipment for their base in Voinjama.
A Working Group consisting of WFP, WHO, ACF and World Vision is currently collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to establish Supplementary Feeding programmes protocols for Liberia. WFP is monitoring and verifying the caseloads of the 90 orphanages that are receiving food assistance under its Institutional Feeding programme.
In addition to verifying the proper utilization of WFP food, WFP monitoring teams are also monitoring the sanitary conditions of the orphanages and their managers are being trained on the preparation of monthly distribution reports.
On Friday 30 January, 17 Military Observers participated in an orientation on child rights and child protection in collaboration with UNICEF's implementing partner, the Christian Children's Fund. The orientation focused on the role of Military Observers in the disarmament and demobilisation of children associated with fighting forces and how they can assist in monitoring the situation of children while on duty.
Distribution of school supplies within Phase II of the Back to School Campaign continues. This week distribution took place in areas outside of Monrovia, with 421 School-in-a-Box kits being distributed in Montserrado, Bong, Grand Bassa and Margibi counties. The ship carrying 60 kits and 20 rolls of plastic sheeting arrived in Harper on Friday, 30 January; distribution of the shipment by the Danish Refugee Council will provide school materials for 4,800 children.
On 29-30 January, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Education in the second consultative Conference on Free and Compulsory Primary Education in Liberia (FACPEL). The main objective of the conference was to contribute to the process of enabling all Liberian children to realize their educational rights. A wide range of issues were discussed, including enforcement of FACPEL, differences between public and private schools, and the needs and requirements for rebuilding the public school sector.
11. Humanitarian Information Centre (HIC)
For details go to: www.humanitarianinfo.org/liberia