A. General Situation
- 1.2 Million Liberians registered to vote for upcoming 11 October Elections
The National Elections Commission (NEC) announced during its regular press briefing in Monrovia on 24 May 2005 that 1.2 million Liberians have registered for the October poll with the number certain to rise following the tabulation of data from the fourth week of the process. According to NEC Chairman Johnson-Morris, women account for more than 48 percent of the 1.2 million registered voters. Cllr. Johnson-Morris also announced the start of the two-week period allowed for the registration of Liberians returning from refugee camps. Meanwhile, the NEC says it is investigating more than 100 persons for "double registration."
B. HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES
As of 24 May 2005, a total of 145,676 IDPs have been facilitated to return to their areas of origin. The exercise has been completed in Tumutu camp and is on going in Unification camp, Mt. Barclay and the Maimu I, II, III are scheduled to shortly commence.
The second tranche resettlement distributions have so far being done only through the Tubmanburg Sub Office (in Bomi County) where 6,581 returning refugees and 52,028 returning IDPs have received their second and final ration. As the resettlement is now expanded to other areas of Liberia (especially Lofa) second tranche distributions will commence in other counties in the following week. The distribution schedule is available from WFP Liberia.
In Bomi, WFP second trench distribution is taking place daily at scheduled sites. To further enhance and expedite the second trench food distribution in Tubmanburg, WFP is increasing its monitoring capacity of the Sub-Office with three additional Food Monitors, thus increasing its capacity to six Food Monitors. If more beneficiaries come to pick up their due second trench than the truck can take, then those beneficiaries will be prioritized and be the first to receive their rations on the next distribution date.
In a related development, UNHCR has completed the Gaps Analyses and IDPs database. A mission to the various offices to verify the field reports, which will give a clear picture of sector intervention, by operational partners is being planned. UNHCR and UNDP will jointly undertake the mission.
An airlift of 56 Liberian returnees from Ghana and land convoys from Guinea and Sierra Leone have brought to 15,797 the number of persons assisted under the UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation exercise launched October 2004. However, there are continued spontaneous returnees from the countries of asylum and UNHCR and its partners have increased efforts to capture the actual number of spontaneous returnees.
During the reporting period, a total of 28 Mt of assorted relief commodities were distributed to 740 Liberian returnees, who arrived in the districts of Voinjama and Foya, Lofa County, on May 19 and 20, 2005, from the Republic of Guinea and the Republic of Sierra Leone. In addition, 87 returnees from the Republic of Guinea arrived in Bong County; seventy of the eighty-seven returnees disembarked in Bong County, while the remaining 17 went to disembark in Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Grand Cape mount counties. The returnees were provided wet food ration, totaling 0.048 metric ton upon arrival at the UNHCR Transit Center in Phebe.
Some 39 Returnees from the Republic of Ghana arrived at the GTZ Compound in Monrovia on May 17, 2005, and received resettlement food assistance, totaling 1.3 metric ton of assorted food commodities.
UNHCR carried out its usual border mission to Butuo, Nimba County to monitor situation with regard to the 110 Ivorian refugees residing at the Butuo way station. The refugees reported loss of roofs over five tents as a result of a storm. UNHCR's implementing partner, LUSH has commenced the rehabilitation of the tents. LUSH has also completed the rehabilitation of three wells in Sanniquelle, Nimba County as well as office space for UNHCR's government counterpart, LRRRC.
With funding from Diakonie Emergency Aid, (DEA) the Lutheran World Federation/World Service (LWF/WS) has completed the 13 wells and provided support for the construction of 40 family latrines in 5 major towns in Gbelley-Geh District in Nimba County. Four of the Towns are located close to the banks of the Cestos River which forms the border between Liberia and Cote de Ivoire. They include: Gborplay, Teayeabaplay, Beoyolay, Blemiplay. The other is Garplay.
The project was launched in December 2005 and completed in early May 2005. It will enable the provision safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to community residents including Ivorian refugees. It is also intended to prepare these borderline communities for and to mitigate the impact of a sudden increase in the number of Ivorian refugee's crossing over to Liberian as was witnessed in November 2004. Given the population of the 5 towns in which the watsan activities were implemented estimated at about 13,000, there are still gaps to be bridged in watsan needs. One of the 5 communities, Teahyiegbaplay, on the banks of the Cestos river with Cote de Ivoire, with a population of about 850 inhabitants, got its first ever hand pumps -- two.
WHO and UNHCR in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other stake holders in the health and nutrition sector have begun the process of interagency health and nutrition evaluation. The goal of the evaluation is to assist the MOH and other stakeholders in the health and nutrition sector to improve their performances. A consultant from both UN Agencies in a pre-visit had consultations with over 28 principal stakeholders in the health sector including UN Agencies, MOH and NGOs. All agreed on the relevance of the evaluation. The results of the evaluation will feed into the health sector-wide strategy development and planning. A Core working group has been formed to steer the affairs of the stakeholders.
UNICEF paid a needs assessment visit to Barclayville, Grand Kru County during the reporting period. Liberia's Education Minister Evelyn Kandakai was also on the assessment team. The team visited four schools in Barclayville. Most the teachers at these schools are volunteers. UNICEF presented a Recreational kit and a School-in-the-Box kit to the county. The School- in-the-Box kit has educational supplies for 80 students while the Recreational kit contains sporting equipment such as soccer balls, volleyballs and basketballs.
In order to start the Emergency School Feeding in River Gee County, WFP conducted training for 154 school administrators from 54 schools in River Gee County. Up to date, River Gee is the fourteenth county where WFP have launched the ESF programme.
The objective of the training was to provide school administrators with knowledge and skills needed for implementing school feeding activities in schools. The training mainly focuses on the use of ESF reporting.
During the reporting period, in Montserrado county a total of 29,027 school children received 109.4 Mt of food commodities while in Nimba county 56.9 Mt of food commodities were distributed to 6,574 beneficiaries (3,615 male and 2,959 female) and the following non-food items were distributed: 42 cooking pots; 6254 plastic plates; 3260 eating spoons; and 3260 plastic cups.
Food Aid & Agriculture
In Nimba county, 8,121(4,629 male and 3,492 female) received 44 Mt of food commodities in four projects (3 agricultural projects in Saclepea, Gbannah and Sanniquellie respectively and 1 project in Butuo) from WFP. In addition, the 3 agricultural projects received tools for a total of 970 items divided by: 210 cutlasses; 210 files; 210 regular hoes; 190 strach hoes; 30 axes; 60 shovels; and 60 diggers.
During the week, WFP delivered 71.394 Mt of various food commodities to 725 farmers in Zota District (Kollieta, Belefenai and Gbarlatuah), based on positive monitoring findings after the first distribution held in the area.
In Bong County, UNHCR in collaboration with the interagency Task Force on HIV/AIDS had a three days HIV awareness workshop for BOCAP, a local youth group involved in HIV awareness in schools and communities in Gbarnga. The Task Force hopes to work with the youth group in its awareness raising campaigns in Bong County. The interagency SGBV focus group is also in consultation with a local theatre group to organize a month long SGBV awareness in eight districts in Bong County.
In Gbarpolu County, the SGBV Theater pilot project in Totoquelleh has received materials from UNHCR such as drums, radios and footballs for the implementation of project. SGBV/HIV/AIDS awareness will also be created among the youths in order to spread the message through dramas to their peer group and others within the communities.
Women groups in Grand Gedeh County are being sensitized on the need to fully participate in development activities and decisions affecting them from UNHCR. Several meetings to discuss the involvement of women in community development activities and HIV/AIDS awareness programs have been held with the intention of stimulating women to take charge of ongoing program interventions in their communities.
WHO has organized two training sessions for six (6) trainers in SGBV and another one for thirty (30) clinicians on counseling and management of Sexually Gender Based violence for participants in both Montserrado and Bong counties.
WHO in collaboration with MOH surveillance team conducted sensitization missions to three counties namely Nimba, Lofa and Bong Counties from 10th to 20th May 2005. The objective of the mission aimed at sensitizing county and district health teams, health facility staff and supervisory staff of partner organizations on the reactivation of active disease surveillance in all of the 15 counties. While in each county, the team accompanied by senior members of the county heath teams visited as many districts and 42 health facilities. The team also interacted with participants at various training sessions: 45 community health workers in Nimba, 35 trained traditional midwives and 10 participants at family planning training in Lofa. As of today, active surveillance has been reactivated in 12 Counties.
WHO in collaboration with MOH and other partners have ended the second round of outreach immunization services aimed at increasing access to the EPI target populations had just been conducted in all the 15 counties of the country. Data is being analyzed.
Under the auspices of the Malaria Control Division of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning, a five-day Malaria indicator survey workshop for 47 persons started in Monrovia on Monday 23 May 2005. Addressing the opening program, the manager of the division, Dr. Joel Jones said much information relative to the country's malaria indicator survey was lacking and the workshop was designed to provide participants with the skills needed to find the information.
UNICEF helped train 34 staff of Child Protection Agencies engaged in the reintegration of war affected children in the Guidelines and Terms of Reference for Reintegration. The workshop provided an opportunity for the staff of these Child Protection Agencies to familiarize themselves with the Reintegration Guidelines and Terms of Reference for agencies engaged in reintegration. During the workshop, the participants developed key performance indicators for each guideline. Child Protection Agencies represented at the workshop are implementing reintegration programmes for the Ministries of Education and Gender and Development.
UNICEF supported the trial of an information package developed to generate information on "Services Available to Separated Children during IDP Repatriation". The trial was conducted in the Konneh IDP Camp in Margibi County. Results from the trial shows that people had no information on who is a separated child and the kind assistance available to them.
HCS continues to strengthen and consolidate its presence in its field offices.
ICRC-Nimba has conducted a community needs assessment in the county, and has found that the most needing people in the region are from Yarwein-Mehnsonneh, as they have no access to water or other basic services as there are no NGOs working there.
Land disputes are a problematic in Nimba County, compounded by the return of refugees/IDPs to the county. The issue of land disputes is reportedly contributing to the desire of refugees to remain outside of Liberia.
Five of the seven re-established Sectoral Working Group meetings met this week, and established their meeting schedules.
It is noted that property disputes are increasing as people are returning to their county of origin. UNMIL is beginning to organize a response mechanism to this problem, and when possible, taps into local/traditional solutions.
An Inter-Agency meeting was held to determine and increase coordination of sectoral meetings. It was agreed that within the coming week, the sectoral meetings will be regularly chaired and attended.
The Road Committee (HCS, UNHCR, WFP, LCIP, and ICRC) has been re-established and a new structure is now working to solve the major road issues. A representative of the PakBatt will chair the committee, the Development Superintendent will be the deputy chair, and HCS will be the secretary coordinating the rehabilitation plans. The Foya-Voinjama road was identified as an issue, and on 23 May, road rehabilitation activities began. 20 UNHCR trucks were loaded and downloaded with laterite. WFP contributed 2.5kg of food per person per day, as well as shovels. LCIP provided 150 persons to rehabilitate the roads, and UNMIL provided logistical supervision.
For further information please write to:
Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer
Humanitarian Coordination Section - UNMIL
Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia