Period: 25 May -9th June 2005
Prepared by UN Country Team, Male', Maldives
The UN Secretary General's Special Envoy, Mr. Bill Clinton arrived in the Maldives on 28th May. Mr. Clinton was greeted upon arrival by the President of the Maldives, Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mr. Patrice Coeur-Bizot, the UN Resident Co-ordinator. On 29th May, Mr Clinton held meetings with the UN Country Team, business leaders and civil society representatives. Mr. Clinton's visit to the Maldives was part of a tour to tsunami-stricken nations to rekindle global attention towards tsunami recovery.
The Special Envoy undertook to support the Maldives i.e. in attracting tourists back, in closing the funding gap of US$114 million for the National Reconstruction Recovery Plan (NRRP). He encouraged greater involvement of the private sector and NGOs in the recovery effort and is very supportive of the focus on Building Back Better and Greener.
Reports from Agencies
German Red Cross, EDC and UNICEF undertook an assessment trip to Sh. Komandhoo Island to discuss future interventions in the pre-school sector which was badly affected by the tsunami, making it unsafe and without materials. The German Red Cross will construct a new building while UNICEF and EDC will provide assistance in transforming the current classroom into to a more child-friendly environment that encourages play-based learning.
UNICEF supported a Maldivian government delegation to participate in the Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence against Children in Islamabad, Pakistan from 19 -21st May.
The Consultations will pave the way for important initiatives to be undertaken in the area of child protection in Maldives, over the next couple of years
The measles epidemic curve is beginning to show a decline and good progress is being made. Another review of the public health and clinical management of measles will start this month. One hundred and seventy one cases of Dengue have been notified for 2005 so far. Staff from the Vector Borne Disease Control Unit are visiting an island with 11 cases (10 years and under) to investigate and undertake control measures. A one year retrospective review for AFP/Polio will start this month to ensure surveillance systems are up to standard.
A UNV gynaecologist has arrived in Male' and will be placed at one of the Regional Hospitals in the tsunami affected areas. The gynaecologist will provide mobile/outreach antenatal, postnatal care as well as reproductive health and family planning services.
2.1 Health Training
Twelve participants from Hithadhoo, Kulhudhufushi and Hulhumale Regional Hospital and the Ministry of Environment and Construction attended an 8 day training course on Health Care Waste Management organized by the Department of Community Medicine, MS Ramaiah Medical College and Group of Hospitals from 21st to 28th May. Draft action plans were produced with recommendations to establishing coordination mechanisms and policies for handling Tsunami waste in the country. The 2000 drums for collection of hazardous waste (to be used by hospitals throughout Maldives) to help with the new segregated waste collecting system will be distributed shortly.
At the Mental Health Forum, 6-9 June, organized by the Ministry of Health, UNFPA presented their work on gender-based violence and psychosocial support activities. UNFPA highlighted the need for greater attention to mental health care in the Maldives, and the provision of support services such as counselling, particularly in light of increased needs stemming from the tsunami.
2.2. Health Care System
An assessment of the Department of Public Health (DPH) which houses the central medical store (CSM) has been completed and the findings shared with MOH. A committee will formulate a strategy in order to implement a new centralized medical supply and procurement system.
A briefing session was provided by a UNFPA procurement specialist to the Ministry of Health on procurement procedures and regulations given the extensive procurement of equipment required under the tsunami Reproductive Health Project.
3. Water Safety
Ground water quality and recreational water safety guidelines are being developed by the Government and supported by WHO. A Hydrologist has been contracted to conduct a detailed assessment of water resources, in July, for longer-term study as a basis for preparation of development projects for the islands taking into consideration the socio economics factors, community involvement and government long term development plans.
UNEP launched its new report "Maldives: Post Tsunami Environmental Assessment" on 5th June, World Environment Day at a press briefing attended by media and Government officials. The report covers findings and suggests recommendations for post tsunami environmental conditions.
5. Disaster Management
A Disaster Management Training needs assessment was successfully carried out at the central, atoll and islands and findings were presented in a workshop held on 2 June 2005.
Based on the TNA report, course curriculum training materials for different disaster management will be developed and will commence by the end of June 2005;
The contracts to undertake the early warning system and disaster risk profile assessments have been awarded and will commence early June.
Government officials are currently visiting India and Bangladesh to study the disaster management policy and institutional framework which will enrich discussions on developing a disaster management policy and establish an appropriate institutional framework.
The UNDP Project "Support to the Restoration of Livelihood" was signed on 1st June 2005 and implementation will commence immediately.
In response to a request from the Chief of Raa atoll for additional support in managing IDP communities, the MIDP Unit in the government, UNFPA, and UNICEF and OCHA conducted an IDP management workshop in Ungoofaaru, Raa atoll between 21-29th May. A team of 15 community facilitators were trained in facilitation skills and a range of IDP issues, to equip them to work with newly formed IDP management committees.
Over the coming weeks, IDP management committees will be established in Hulhudhuffaaru, Alifushi, Meedhoo, and Maduvaree. This is in addition to the committee the atoll chief has already established in Ungoofaaru.
These committees will help to:
1. Facilitate greater participation by IDPs in their own management.
2. Improve information flow between IDPs and the Government/NGOs and UN.
3. Ensure that relations with host communities are strengthened.
In support of the above, and to create awareness about and sustain commitment to psychosocial and reproductive health issues , UNFPA is in the process of recruiting five community educators who will be placed in the five most affected atolls, Raa, Thaa, Dhaalu, Meemu and Laamu.
11. Planning and Co-ordination
UNDP has been working closely with the Government to put in place a Donor Assistance Database (DAD) to strengthen Government capacity on aid co-ordination and tracking of recovery efforts. The DAD mission is currently in the Maldives from 4-8th June to set up the system. The first round of DAD application will be made available for testing on 7th June and it is envisaged that by end of July, DAD would be fully operational on the web.
A delegation on behalf of OCHA and the Development Group Office (DGO) visited Male' to hold discussions on lessons learnt after the tsunami. Discussions were held on OCHA's phase out strategy while ensuring all activities would be successfully handed over to other agencies/ government departments. The consultations will continue and options will be formulated in the near future. The mission held meetings with the Resident Co-ordinator, the UN Country Team, Minister of Defence, government officials from the Ministries of Finance, Planning and DER, as well as IFRC, Red Cross Societies and other key stakeholders.
United Nations Maldives Disaster Relief Taskforce: http://220.127.116.11
Maldives National Disaster Management Centre: http://www.tsunamimaldives.mv
Field office contact
Aishath Jeelaan, Communications Officer, UN Resident Coordinator System,
Tel: (960) 324501, mob: (960) 787 987; email: email@example.com