Namibia + 1 more

Namibia: Angolan refugees Appeal No. 36/99 Situation Report No. 2

Situation Report
Originally published


launched on December 30, 1999 for 6 months
period covered: 8 - 20 January, 2000
The delivery of assistance activities planned in the appeal is underway, despite the fact that donor support remains limited. The Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS), with Federation support, is in the process of finalising implementation agreements with UNHCR, as well as considering a revised time-frame for the operation.

The context

The renewed conflict between the Angolan Government army (FAA) and UNITA resulted in an influx of over 8,000 refugees from southern Angola to northern Namibia. The influx began in early December. Taking into account the existing refugee caseload as well as the expectation that a significant number of refugees will continue to seek safety from the ongoing military action in Angola, the Federation launched an appeal to provide for an eventual refugee caseload of 12,000.

The newly arrived refugees established temporary shelters in the Namibian border town of Rundu, and were initially accommodated and registered at a transit centre 65 kms from Rundu before being transported to the Osire refugee camp, located 671 kms from Rundu and 250 kms from Windhoek, the Namibian capital. With the fighting continuing, the possibility of repatriation remains remote.

The influx of refugees placed an additional burden on Government resources, already strained by a pre-existing refugee population. In consultation with the Government and UNHCR, a Federation Regional Disaster Response Team was deployed to support the Namibia Red Cross (NRC) in providing humanitarian assistance to refugees in Osire camp. Care and maintenance assistance is being provided in shelter, non-food items, health, water, sanitation, social services, and tracing. Given the uncertainty of the situation and the potential for a further influx of refugees, the programme is also intended to support NRC capacity building efforts as well as the updating of contingency plans.

Latest events

While the refugee influx has decreased in recent weeks to an estimated 50-100 per week, not all the refugees or internally displaced people are being moved to the Osire Camp from the transit areas along the border. The camp population remains at 7,500-8,000 refugees, although more accurate figures will soon be available as a result of a Government-sponsored registration exercise. Security incidents continue to occur along the border area, and most expatriates have been evacuated. The needs of refugees in the Osire camp are still urgent. Formal agreements have been established between the Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS), the Federation, and UNHCR, and discussions are underway to expand the time-frame of the operation to one year. A revised appeal and budget are under preparation.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

CHF 150,000 was allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to initiate assistance activities. The Regional Response Team consisting of a Relief Co-ordinator, Health Co-ordinator and Water Sanitation Co-ordinator arrived in Namibia on January 10. The team undertook a mission with the NRCS to the Rundu Transit area, reporting that the situation is still tense but population movements remain low. Basic needs at the transit area were being met as long as refugees are transported to Osire within a few days of arriving. UNHCR, WFP, and CCN (a local NGO) continue to provide food and some non-food items to the refugees with some support from NRCS volunteers in Osire. More transit areas have been identified, and the Government and UNHCR continue to co-ordinate protection and transportation of refugees to the Osire Camp. Discussions are under way between UNHCR and the Government to establish another camp in the near future, although no site has been identified as yet.

Tents supplied by the British Department for International Development (DFID) and British Red Cross arrived in early January, and so far 200 out of 700 tents have been transported to Osire and are being distributed by the Red Cross. Water, sanitation, and health action plans are being finalised. The following activities are underway:

  • The Federation’s Regional Information Systems Management Delegate has visited Namibia to set-up a communications structure, and has trained staff on use of the SatPhone of which two will be used for remote locations and when regular forms of communications are disrupted.
  • A mission from the Regional Institutional Development (ID) Delegate has assisted the National Society in the drafting of agreements, staff recruitment (9 local staff will be recruited for the relief operation), revision of office structures, and to plan the capacity building aspects of the operation.
  • Prefabricated buildings for the extension of the clinic in Osire and for office and staff accommodation are being delivered over the next two weeks.
  • Two truck loads of relief items from the Regional Reserve stocks will arrive during the week of 24 January, including 1,600 blankets, water containers, latrine slabs, a generator, camping equipment, a cholera kit, first aid kits, fly bait for vector control, and construction tools. A further 3,400 blankets will be procured locally and distributed.
  • In kind shipments of used clothing from the Danish and Finnish Red Cross are being prepared for shipment by sea to Namibia.
  • A geophysical survey will be completed next week prior to starting a borehole drilling programme. Latrine construction will commence by the end of January.

Outstanding needs

There is an urgent need for cash contributions. The need for delegates is currently being assessed. The Regional Response Team will cover many of the Federation’s assistance tasks in the short term. The need for assistance with financial management is the most pressing requirement. Information on staffing requirements will be communicated to PNS once agreed with the NRCS.

External relations - Government/UN/NGOs/Media

The NRCS maintains a very positive relationship with the Government, particularly the Ministry of Home Affairs which has supported the role of the NRCS and the Federation. Various media (newspaper, radio and television) have regularly interviewed NRCS staff and reported positively on Red Cross activities. Embassies in Windhoek have been in contact with the NRCS as potential donors.

Regular coordination meetings are being held with Government and UNHCR, and coordination meetings at field level are to be instituted to ensure a smooth running operation, to avoid duplication of efforts, and to share resources.


See Annex 1 for details. Several Pledge Management Notes are still in process, and will be reflected in the next Situation Report.

Bekele Geleta
Africa Department

Peter Rees-Gildea
Operations Funding and Reporting Department

Please click here for Annex 1 (PDF*)

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