Liberia: UNMIL Humanitarian Situation Report No. 105

21 - 27 May 2007

- CERF-funded seed rice distribution to end in early June

- MSF-Holland ceases operations in Liberia

- Common Humanitarian Action Plan 2007 receives 15.9% of funding to date

1. Assessments / Missions / Emergency Responses

Update on UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) projects

The distribution of seed rice funded under the CERF Rapid Response Window continued during the week in Lofa County. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) completed distributing 75 MT of seed rice to 1,858 and 1,142 farmers in Foya and Kolahun District, respectively. Samaritan's Purse distributed 100 MT of seed rice to 4,000 farmers in Foya and Kolahun Districts. It also distributed farming tools to the farmers. In Zorzor District, Concern Worldwide distributed 46.2 MT of seed rice to 1,849 farmers.

FAO earlier reported that it had completed 67% of the seed rice distribution in the country. It expects to receive the final 270 MT of seed rice (representing the balance 33%) in first week of June and will complete the seed distribution process by 9 June. Delays in delivery of seed rice and variations in the weight of the bags containing the seed rice were reported as the main problems in the distribution process.

Update on funding of CHAP 2007

By 26 May 2007, the Liberia 2007 Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) had received 15.9% of required funding. The total funding requirements for humanitarian and recovery activities under the CHAP 2007 are US$ 117 million.

2. Return & Resettlement

Refugee repatriation to Lofa County nears 60,000

By 24 May, UNHCR reported that the total repatriation of Liberian refugees to Lofa County, northern Liberia had reached 56,924 persons since the voluntary repatriation process started in February 2005. The agency also repatriated 163 refugees from Sierra Leone to Liberia via Vahun District on 25 May.

3. Health

MSF-Holland ceases operations in Liberia

Médecins Sans Frontières - Holland ended its mission in Liberia and departed the country on 27 May. During its operations in Liberia, MSF-H ran life-saving emergency health and sanitation programmes in many parts of Liberia. It has handed over its projects to the Government in Grand Bassa and River Cess Counties, and to Africare International and International Rescue Committee in Nimba County.

The departure of MSF-H departure signals the drawdown of emergency-focused NGO activities in the health sector, as Liberia moves away from emergency towards recovery and development. The Health Cluster, which coordinates activities in Liberia, is currently phasing out into a health sector to be coordinated by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare with support from WHO.

4. Food Security & Livelihoods

WFP feeds 120,000

During the week, WFP and partners distributed over 1,600 MT of food to more than 120,000 beneficiaries through various feeding interventions, including distribution of take-home rations to 6,000 schoolgirls. Take-home rations provide a strong incentive for families to keep their girls in school, in a country with high gender differential in primary education and a high incidence of teenage pregnancy. High female school completion rates help bridge the gender gap in education and trigger a positive knock-on effect on reproductive health and gender equity.

5. Education

Competing ALP school causes closure of NRC school in Gbarpolu County

Education authorities in Gbarpolu County are investigating the closure of an Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) school run by the Norwegian Refugee Council in Bomboma town, apparently because its students have abandoned it for another ALP school in nearby Bamboo Town. The students have instead enrolled in an ALP school run by a local NGO (Action for Greater Harvest - AGRHA, and funded by UNICEF) probably because the school guarantees free education for three years, while the NRC school is expected to last for nine months. The County Education Officer is concerned that the AGRHA ALP School is also drawing small, school-age children from the regular schools.

UNICEF donates school materials to 45 schools

UNICEF is currently distributing school materials to 12,715 students at 45 schools in Bong and Grand Gedeh Counties. The materials, which include dictionaries, microscopes, and school furniture, are part of UNICEF support to the educational system in Liberia.

6. Protection

CCF conducts SGBV workshop in Bong County

An international NGO, the Christian Children's Fund (CCF) conducted a two-day workshop on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and reproductive awareness in Sanoyea District in Bong County. The workshop, held under its 'Safeguarding the Future Effectively Programme', was held on 15-16 May 2007 with 22 participants from 12 towns in the District.

CCF also conducted a 'community cleansing' ceremony for women rejected by their families/communities because of their involvement with combatants during the civil war. Three of the women participating in the program were reunified with their families.