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OCHA Belgrade: Weekly Situation Report 10 - 17 Mar 2000

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HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
Coordination

In Montenegro, OCHA formally launched the Database on Humanitarian and Transitional Activities at the fortnightly inter-agency coordination meeting. Data collection and entry will begin following the first focused meeting with ECHO-funded implementing partners, held on 16 March.

Refugees/IDPs

In Serbia, the registration of IDPs is in progress, scheduled to be completed in mid-April.

In Kralijevo, an inter-agency coordination meeting was held on 15 March, chaired by UNHCR with the participation of NGOs and UN agencies, focusing on the provision of humanitarian assistance by NGOs in the region. The discussions also covered the need for prior-consultation with UNHCR for distributions of aid to collective centers.

Following the publication of a Handbook for Applying the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, OCHA briefed the NGO community at an ICVA-organized meeting in Belgrade on 17 March. The Handbook has been developed to provide the blueprint for action based on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and aims to assist field personnel in finding practical solutions when confronted with the assistance, protection, and reintegration needs of the internally displaced. (The Handbook is available at ReliefWeb at www.reliefweb.int)

Food

On 14 March, WFP held a donor briefing in Belgrade, attended by the Agency's representatives from field offices and the HQ in Rome. WFP provided an overview of the status of food aid in Serbia (excluding Kosovo), the process of beneficiary identification, assessment and monitoring efforts, and efforts to strengthen the distribution mechanism. It is expected that donor commitment in the pipeline can cover food needs up to late August/early September.

Health

On 14 March, a bi-weekly health coordination meeting was held in Belgrade, chaired by WHO with participation of NGOs, UN Agencies, ECHO, and the FRY Government. During the meeting, PSF cautioned against bringing in drugs not relevant to FRY (e.g., some 370 mt of malaria medicines needed to be destroyed). The Health Ministry requested NGOs to reactivate support for primary healthcare centers.

During the above meeting, the following organizations presented their health-related projects: UNHCR (hygiene program); Italian Cooperation (clinical centers for gynecology); MSF (health assessment of IDPs/refugees): IOM (medical processing for repatriation); and Swiss Disaster Relief (water testing equipment for Pancevo).

Energy

There have been many partial power outages in the EPS system, including those in Obrenovac TPS and TS Belgrade 3, which demonstrate the system's fragility.

District heating in Belgrade and other cities, where natural gas is used as main fuel, have been significantly reduced. There is an indication that natural gas may be shifted to the use for fertilizer production for agriculture in spring.

Supply of gasoline and diesel to commercial pumping stations continued to be problematic. While the need for fuel is growing due to spring agricultural works, state-related import has significantly slowed down, making it difficult to meet the domestic demands.

HUMANITARIAN VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT

A WFP mission arrived in Belgrade to conduct a household food economy assessment (focusing on social cases). The mission will examine the patterns of income and expenditures of FRY households, from the point of view of food accessibility. Dialogue is ongoing to ensure compatibility between this assessment and the humanitarian vulnerability assessment on social cases (non-food), being organized by UNICEF/OCHA, for early April.

In Montenegro, the joint WHO/UNICEF Assessment of the Primary Health Care Facilities and Services started on 15 March, to be implemented through the Institute of Public Health in Podgorica.

In Montenegro, UNHCR is planning to carry out several surveys in the north. The first one is to assess the general food situation, nutrition, health and cooking facilities of four collective centers. Based on its results, UNHCR will try to resume an agreement between the Montenegrin Commissariat for Displaced People and beneficiaries about the use of joint kitchens, while recommending further actions to be taken. These assessments compliment the nutritional survey currently underway on the coast under the coordination of UNHCR Ulcinj.

WHO is also preparing a drug use survey as part of a regional activity aimed at assessing the usage of medicines in FRY (Serbia Proper, Kosovo, and Montenegro), Bosnia and Hercegovina, FYROM, and Albania.

OTHER MATTERS

A number of missions are being planned in FRY during the coming weeks, including: Ms. Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, on 21-22 March; Mr. Dennis McNamara, DSRSG for Humanitarian Affairs/UNMIK; Mr. Stoltenberg, President of the Norwegian Red Cross, in late March; a WHO polio expert, on 27-31 March; and a UNFPA assessment team on reproductive health of refugees and IDPs, in April.

Next situation report will be issued on 30 March, due to OCHA's regional meeting next week.

For additional information, please contact:
Ms. Kayo Gotoh, HAO/Analysis, OCHA Belgrade

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.