Serbia + 1 more

OCHA Belgrade: Weekly Situation Report 26 Nov - 02 Dec 1999

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HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
Coordination:

In order to produce and maintain an information matrix of humanitarian activity in FRY (excluding Kosovo), a Humanitarian Operations Database (HOD) is being developed by OCHA, in cooperation with humanitarian partners, and will be launched in the coming week. The HOD aims to facilitate coordination within and between sectors and will complement donor/implementing agency reporting with more detailed information at sectoral levels. Information will be collected at the project level from implementing and funding agencies, and will be collated for presentation by sector, location, agency, and others as required.

The success of the initiative would depend on the response of participants. Therefore, specific efforts are made to design this database demonstrably useful to agencies, and reports/updates quick and easy to complete.

Refugees/IDPs:

The IDP registration in Montenegro is ongoing and scheduled to be completed on 4 December. As of 26 November, the preliminary figures were 16,112 (4,899 families), of which 3,078 were in Podgorica, 3,050 in Bar, and 2,335 in Berane - much lower, so far, than the original YRC estimate.

The turnout as of 26 November has been relatively low. This may have been caused by the following factors: a) previous figures were somewhat inflated; b) fear that registering as an IDP will mean the loss of benefits/salaries from previous employment in Kosovo; and c) perceived uncertainty about the use of the photographs in the UNHCR database.

Children:

The issue of school enrollment among internally displaced (ID) children is being addressed. UNICEF, with WVI, Intersos, and ICS, are preparing educational curricula for the IDP collective center Konik in Montenegro. Classes will be held in winter tents for 1,000 children who do not attend school, as well as extra-curricula catch-up classes for those attending schools.

A project agreement was signed between UNICEF and the WVI for health promotion and disease prevention among IDPs in collective centers. Furthermore, preparations are ongoing, by UNICEF, ACF, and Intersos, for a promotional station for breastfeeding, infant feeding and child hygiene targeting some 900 Roma ID mothers in the Konik collective center.

Assessment is being conducted by UNICEF and the Clinical Hospital Center in Podgorica on the rehabilitation of the maternity ward which has had an increased number of deliveries in 1999 due to the influx of IDPs. Also, UNICEF is to repair an additional three primary schools in Montenegro.

Energy Assistance:

Power failures and heating shortages: Heating fuel shortages and electricity failures are reducing heating to homes and disrupting the operations of schools and hospitals. OCHA has received requests from hospitals, old person's homes, and schools, seeking generators to ensure electricity supply during power outages, and heating fuel. These requests are being forwarded to appropriate implementing agencies for assessment and action.

Assistance to promote grid stability: A first package of assistance to help stabilize the FRY transmission grid has been ordered in Switzerland and is expected to arrive before the end of December for installation in the most sensitive sub-stations. Further orders from Switzerland will be placed soon.

OCHA is continuing its discussions with other donors, including Sweden and Austria, regarding possible additional spare parts assistance.

Electricity supply assessment: OCHA has completed a week-long assessment of the coal/lignite situation, and has visited two of the most important power plants in FRY, Tesla A and B. From these visits, it is clear that problems with coal supply and technical failures at the plants are reducing plant output at a critical time.

To make up the shortfall of domestically produced electricity, FRY is now relying heavily on imported electricity, part of which is being paid for by copper from the Bor copper mine. FRY was until recently a net exporter of electricity.

Energy for Democracy: The EU's first shipment of heating fuel under the "Energy for Democracy" program remains at the border, and has yet to reach the towns of Nis and Pirot which are reportedly experiencing continued shortages. The fuel in the EU's first shipment will cover needs for approximately 3 days. OCHA remains concerned that the politicization of humanitarian heating needs may prevent basic needs being met.

Cacak District Heating Plant: On Friday, November 26, OCHA and SDR visited the Cacak District Heating Plants to assess possible assistance to improvements already under way.

VULNERABILITY AND RISK ASSESSMENT

Humanitarian Risk Analysis no. 6 was issued on 30 November, providing further analysis of the grey economy as a coping mechanism and of winter humanitarian needs in the health sector. Monthly updates and analyses of the major macro-economic indicators are also provided.

The first meeting of the inter-agency Working Group on Humanitarian Vulnerability was held on 2 December, participated in by WFP, UNICEF, UNDP, UNHCR, and OCHA (chair). Each agency shared ongoing/planned initiatives of vulnerability assessments in their responsible sectors. OCHA will prepare a concept paper on the proposed framework for humanitarian vulnerability analyses, for the next meeting scheduled for 15 December.

UNDP plans to field a mission, starting 13 December, preparatory to its early warning project, to support and complement the above-mentioned initiatives of the local humanitarian community. It will, therefore, be designed in close consultation/cooperation with the above Working Group.

UPDATE ON MONTENEGRO

Two acts of violence took place recently, raising questions of possible increases in tension in Montenegro. On 18 November, the head of the Yugoslav Army's military intelligence was reportedly beaten and seriously injured in front of his apartment in Niksic. A joint investigation by Army (federal) and police (republican) is underway. Another reported event involved the head of the (breakaway) Montenegrin Orthodox Church, who was stopped and beaten by a Serbian Orthodox priest on 21 November, who, later arrested, was allegedly following orders of the Church.

Also alarming was the incident where more than 100 trucks carrying food commodities from Serbia to Montenegro have been stopped at the border by Serbian border guards, insisting that payments from Montenegro (public and private) must be made in DEM (while the payments from Serbia are made in dinars). The deferred delivery caused shortages and price increases for some items. In an efforts to lower prices within Montenegro, the authorities have dropped all trade taxes on imports from Serbia and ordered the Republican Stockpile to begin selling basic foodstuffs at below market prices, including flour, sugar and oil.

OTHER MATTERS

DSRSG Dennis McNamara (UNMIK) visited Belgrade on 25-26 November, and discussed with Belgrade-based humanitarian actors the humanitarian situation in FRY in general as well as the status of donor involvements.

For comments and questions, please contact:
Ms. Kayo Gotoh, HAO/Analysis, OCHA Belgrade (Tel/Fax 381-11-682963; Email: ocha@eunet.yu)

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