Liberia: UNMIL Humanitarian Situation Report No. 108

Situation Report
Originally published
11 - 17 June 2007


- Humanitarian agencies and other stakeholders begin the Mid-Year Review of the 2007 Common Humanitarian Action Plan for Liberia.

- The Ministry of Health & Social Welfare and partners launch first of three Tetanus Toxoid vaccination campaigns.

- WFP to begin new project in July 2007; restructures its operations in Liberia.


Mid-Year Review of CHAP 2007 begins

The Humanitarian Coordination Section (HCS) is leading the Mid-Year Review of the 2007 Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) for Liberia. On 12 June, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee in Liberia discussed the timeline and key activities of the review process. Humanitarian agencies working as Clusters/sectors are meeting to review the humanitarian situation in Liberia and the priorities and strategies for humanitarian action, and will provide updates on their activities and progress made. A working session for the Mid-Year Review is planned later in June for all stakeholders.

The CHAP, launched in February 2007, is a strategic plan for humanitarian response in Liberia, and seeks to bridge the gap in funding of humanitarian activities during the transition from emergency to recovery/development. By 17 June, it had received US$ 24.6 million (or 21.1% of the total funding requirements, estimated at US$ 117 million. In addition, funding for humanitarian activities not included in the CHAP 2007 reached US$ 15 million during the same period. This puts the total reported funding for humanitarian/recovery activities to Liberia in 2007 at US$ 39.6 million.

USAID assists storm-affected residents of Ganta, Nimba County

USAID has donated building materials for the repair of 196 homes in communities affected by the windstorm in Ganta, Nimba County on 21 March. The Liberia National Red Cross Society, on behalf of USAID, delivered the package, which included 250 bundles of zinc and 700 packs of nails, to the beneficiaries on 9 June 2007.

It can be recalled that on 21 March 2007, a severe storm hit six towns in Ganta, Nimba County in northern Liberia. According to the Liberia National Red Cross Society, nearly 2,500 persons were affected, and 405 homes, schools and other structures were damaged.


HCS to scale down activities

The Humanitarian Coordination Section will be scaling down its activities as part of the adjustment of the UN Mission in Liberia. By 30 June 2007, the Section will close down its offices in Gbarnga (serving Bong & Nimba Counties), Zwedru (serving Grand Gedeh & Sinoe Counties) and in Tubmanburg (serving Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Bomi Counties). The Section is working to ensure that mechanisms are established in these counties to report on evolving humanitarian issues adequately.

WFP restructures its operations in Liberia

WFP is restructuring its operations in Liberia and has announced the closure of its sub-office in Bong County by 30 June 2007. The WFP Saclepea sub-office in Nimba County and the Monrovia sub-office will begin managing its Bong County operations as of 1 July. The sub-office in Harper, Maryland County will be reclassified as a field office. The agency has also reduced its staff strength. WFP is stressing that its programmes and beneficiaries will not be affected by the restructuring.


UNHCR reports increase in momentum of refugee return as official deadline nears

UNHCR reported an increase in refugee return as the deadline for the end to the voluntary repatriation programme nears (30 June 2007). During the week some 198 refugees returned home from Ghana by sea. On 12 June, 691 Liberian refugees returned home from Sierra Leone via the Liberia - Sierra Leone border in Grand Cape Mount County. UNHCR also reported an increase in the number of spontaneous returnees at de-registration centres in the country.

Yet, it seems unlikely that all refugees who desire to return home will do so before the deadline. Many refugees in neighboring countries are reluctant to return home for many reasons. During the week, representatives of refugees in Ghana visited Liberia on a 'come and see mission' to assess the conditions for refugee return.


Tetanus vaccination campaign begins

UNICEF and the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare have started the first round of a campaign to vaccinate children against tetanus toxoid in ten counties. The campaign will run in three phases: 11-16 June 2007; 11-16 July 2007; and 11-16 January 2008. Tetanus is a major cause of morbidity for children under age one in Liberia.

UNICEF is also shipping in a large consignment of anti-malarial medicine (Artemisinin-based combination therapy) for use in combating malaria. The drugs are worth US$ 389,000, and represent 678,858 treatments.

Major hospital in Gbarpolu County needs medicine, equipment and personnel

The newly constructed hospital in Gbarpolu County is in urgent need of medicine, equipment and personnel. According to the Gbarpolu County Health Team, the hospital's surgery/operating room need instruments and medical supplies to function effectively. The lack of an ambulance for emergencies and of transportation for hospital staff hampers the daily work of the hospital. A grant from the Saudi Prince Al Waleed was used to construct the hospital in Bopolu, the county's capital.

UNICEF supports waste disposal at remote health facilities

UNICEF, with logistical support from UNMIL, is distributing 160 new solar refrigerators, and 47 incinerators for medical waste disposal, to 160 hard-to-reach health centers throughout Liberia at a cost of US$ 1 million. The operation will help improve drug storage, especially during immunization campaigns, and will improve waste disposal at the targeted health facilities. UNICEF says Liberia is the first country in Africa to install the newly designed incinerators.


WFP new two-year project to assist 767,000 persons

WFP announced a new two-year project to provide 53,362 MT of food assistance to an estimated 767,000 beneficiaries beginning in July 2007. WFP has so far received US$ 5 million of the total funding requirements of US$ 50.6 million for the project.

During the week, WFP appealed for US$ 6 million of donor support for its regional air operation flight services. The air services operate between Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire. WFP believes that suspension of the flight services due to lack of funds would hamper the work of humanitarian agencies who rely on the service for movement across the region, especially during the rainy season.