Sierra Leone

ACT Appeal Sierra Leone Relief & Rehabilitation - AFSL01

Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments


Appeal Target : US$ 5,481,738
Balance Requested from ACT Network US$ 5,465,503

Geneva, 13 March 2000

Dear Colleagues,

For 9 years since 1991, Sierra Leone experienced a very severe and brutal civil war targeted against the innocent population by the rebel groups opposed to the government in power. In March, 1998, President Kabbah returned to power after 9 months of misrule by the AFRC and RUF that had taken over power through a coup in May, 1997 sending the democratically elected government fleeing into exile. The AFRC/ RUF regime was characterized by human rights abuses, violence and looting. With the help of the ECOMOG, power was wrestled back from the AFRC/RUF regime to the democratic government of President Kabbah. However, the security situation remained fragile especially in the rural areas that lay beyond ECOMOG’s immediate control. Rebel forces embarked on a campaign to terrorize the local population and to destabilize the country through the indiscriminate slaughter and mutilation of civilians. In addition, the deliberate targeting of community infrastructures and private property greatly compounded the humanitarian crisis.

In January, 1999 the RUF rebels entered Freetown and after some of the fiercest fighting seen in the conflict, the rebels were ejected from the city leaving behind large numbers of civilian casualties and widespread destruction of property. The subsequent return to power of the Kabbah government marked the beginning of the peace process. In July 1999, the Lome Peace Accord was signed by both government and rebel leaders and, as part of the agreement, a programme of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration was initiated. The people of Sierra Leone are embracing this peace dearly and are looking forward to rebuilding their lives. But the naked truth is that the country needs the assistance of the International community to provide even for the most basic humanitarian needs.

The ACT members in Sierra Leone, the Christian Council of Sierra Leone working together with Christian Aid, and four member churches wishes to respond to the emergency situation as shown below.


LWF
CCSL/CA
BCSL
WCSL
UMC
MCSL
Camp Management

x




Trauma Healing/Peace & Reconciliation
x
x




Education/Training
x

x
x
x

Agriculture
x
x
x
x

x
Infrastructure/Rehabilitation
x
x


x
x
Health


x
x

x
Food for Work


x



Income Generation

x




Water & Sanitation




x

Food/non-food

x




Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

LWF
CCSL/CA
WCSL
BCSL
UMC
MCSL
Total
Appeal Targets
1,056,430
3,606,343
250,643
246,390
147,898
174,034
5,481,738
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd



16,235


16,235
Balance Requested of ACT Network
1,056,430
3,606,343
250,643
230,155
147,898
174,034
5,465,503
Please kindly send your contributions to the ACT bank account and inform this office of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers. Please note the Pledge Form is no longer attached with the Appeal.

Account Number - 102539/0.01.061 (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
Banque Edouard Constant
Cours de Rive 11
Case postale 3754
1211 Genève 3
SWITZERLAND

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU and/or USAID funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
Director
WCC/Cluster on Relations
Thor-Arne Prois
ACT Coordinator
Rev. Rudolf Hinz
Director
LWF/World Service
ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

DESCRIPTION Of The EMERGENCY SITUATION

Background

Since 1991, the Republic of Sierra Leone has experienced one of Africa’s most brutal civil wars. A coup which overthrew the elected Government in May 1997 when coup leaders invited rebels into the capital city of Freetown further contributed to loss of human lives and the destruction of physical infrastructure. The country’s already ailing economy was left in shambles by the war.

In response to the civil crisis and the humanitarian needs, ACT Implementing partners including the Christian Council of Sierra Leone (CCSL), Christian Aid, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone (ELCSL) and others, have submitted two appeals, with revisions: AFSL81 and AFSL91, the latter in two parts: a relief program and a rehabilitation phase. The contribution of ACT donors to these appeals have been crucial in undertaking the activities so far achieved by the partners.

Current Situation

Following many previous attempts, a peace agreement was finally signed in July 1999, bringing to an end over eight years of fighting. All parties to the conflict the Government troops, the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the Citizens Defence Force (CDF) have accepted the terms of the agreement. As part of the peace agreement an estimated 45,000 combatants are to be disarmed and demobilized. This exercise is planned for the coming three to four months, when the ex combatants are expected to be reintegrated into communities and most of them back into civilian life. Disarmament of the fighters was officially launched in the country on 4 November 1999. The expected success in the disarmament and demobilization process is bound to trigger a wave of returnees from exile as well as the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original homes. In the capital city alone, there are an estimated 150,000 IDPs who are expected to return home.

The prevailing security situation in the southern region as a whole and some parts of the eastern region proposed to be targeted for this project can be said to be relatively stable. There is an appreciable presence of ECOMOG peace keeping troops in Bo and Kenema towns - the headquarters for the Southern and Eastern regions respectively. In addition, a number of humanitarian agencies, both international and local, are now restarting programs in the region. In the final analysis however, real confidence in the security situation in the area, as much as in the country as a whole, remains dependent on how effectively the disarmament and demobilization process is successfully concluded.

Impact On Human Lives

Over 150,000 lives have been lost so far, while an estimated 500,000 have become refugees mainly in the neighbouring countries of Liberia and Guinea. Over 1.5 million have become internally displaced. A particular feature of the civil crisis in Sierra Leone is the estimated 1,000 people who have had limbs amputated by rebel fighters, some losing both hands, including elderly, women and children as young as 4 months; these are only those amputees who have been able to reach registration centers. Humanitarian agencies manage one amputees’ camp in the capital city Freetown where the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights visiting this camp is reported to have openly wept.

Following a successful completion of the disarmament and demobilization of fighters, the reintegration of fighters, returnees and IDPs will be the major challenge for consolidating the peace process in Sierra Leone.

Description of Damages

While there was destruction in all parts of the country, in the villages it was worse than in the major cities and towns. This led to over crowding of the towns and cities, who played host to the hundreds of thousands of displaced people from the countryside.

Koinadugu, Kailahun and Kono in the north and eastern parts of the country are some of the worst affected among the 12 districts. The siege and take over of the capital city by rebel forces in January 1999 was the most intense, so that within a three week period, it was estimated that over 5,000 lives were lost and 6,000 houses were burnt in the capital city and surroundings. The subsequent attempt to dislodge the rebels by the peacekeepers and the fighting between the two groups also contributed to the physical destruction.

All major roads in the country were destroyed and left abandoned for most of the past 8 years. Other social facilities including health centers, schools, community buildings were not spared the destruction or looting and those not destroyed were left non operational and not maintained for a number of years. Rural water supply pumps in most cases became inoperable and in some cases vandalized, leaving the population to drink contaminated water. Consequently, the reconstruction efforts will entail total re building for some communities. Most areas have been totally destroyed and in many cases people returning to these communities will go through a period of shock and disbelief at the level of physical destruction they will meet.

A great majority of Sierra Leone’s 4.5 million people are rural dwellers who make their livelihood from subsistence farming, cultivating on average 1 hectare a year of rice, cassava, other roots, tuber crops and some vegetables. Most of this population has been dislodged during the civil crisis, leading to a loss of between 2 - 5 harvests depending on the location and the severity of the fighting. Thousands of metric tons of food commodities were lost per year and hectares of farmland laid to waste.


LUTHERAN WORLD FEDERATION/DEPARTMENT
FOR WORLD SERVICE (LWF/DWS)

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER INFORMATION

Lutheran World Federation/Departement for World Service /LWF/DWS), Sierra Leone program, in collaboration with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone (ELCSL)

II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER And PARTNER INFORMATION

The Lutheran World Federation, Department for World Service (LWF/DWS) started activities in support of Liberia’s war victims by late 1990, in the Republic of Sierra Leone, where Liberian refugees had fled. LWF/DWS carried out a WFP and UNHCR supported food distribution to some 30,000 Liberian refugees in Kailahun District of Sierra Leone until early 1991 when the organization established itself in Liberia. The emergency programs have included food and non food distribution, care and management of Sierra Leonean refugees and assistance to internally displaced persons in Liberia. An estimated 500,000 Liberians and over 100,000 Sierra Leone refugees have been assisted by LWF/DWS over the last seven years.

Based on the invitation of the ELCSL, the LWF/DWS fielded a number of separate assessment missions in early 1999, including three missions from LWF/DWS office in Monrovia and one from LWF/DWS international headquarters in Geneva. During these missions, extensive consultations were carried out with other ACT partners who were informed that LWF/DWS in collaboration with the ELCSL plan to carry out a program of assistance in Sierra Leone. Subsequently and based on the need in early 1999, LWF/DWS submitted a logistic support appeal, for supporting the relief activities of ACT partners in Sierra Leone. This appeal is still necessary to provide logistical backup for activities under this appeal. A follow up planning mission was fielded in early November, 1999 comprising three persons: one from Geneva and two from Monrovia, to discuss with and develop an emergency/rehabilitation plan for a LWF/DWS program in Sierra Leone, beginning with an intervention under ACT funding. Thus the basis for this ACT Appeal.

Description of Implementing Partners

ELCSL was established in 1988. It currently has a membership of about 2,300 in 15 congregations in parts of all four administrative regions of the country. It is an active member of the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL), the umbrella organization which comprises 18 churches and 26 para - church bodies. The ELCSL was also admitted as a member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in 1990 and is an ACT implementing partner in Sierra Leone.

Inspite of the loss and devastation incurred during the civil war, the ELCSL has been steadfast in its response to the civil crisis and the humanitarian needs stemming from it. In collaboration with the CCSL and with the support of its multilateral partnes, the church has successfully organized and implemented in the country, three emergency relief assistance programmes during the crisis period.

Through these programmes, the ELCSL has acquired valuable experience with as well as a proven track record for ecumenical collaboration and cooperation.

Member churches of the CCSL have in the past been involved in distribution of relief items channelled through the ELCSL. It is hoped that this collaboration will continue during the implementation of this project.

III. LOCATIONS FOR PROPOSED RESPONSE

Based on the assessment missions undertaken by LWF/DWS and especially the mission in November, 1999 which had the opportunity to visit both Bo and Kenema Districts. Findings of the missions were confirmed by government and NGO sources as to the areas most in need and the potential for LWF/DWS program. The summary below represents these findings:

Bo District
generally stable, security wise; 3 years of emergency intervention has created possibilities for rehabilitation and development work. This district is at present host to over 50 international and local humanitarian agencies, who have contributed to a stabilization of the situation.

Kenema District
except for the southern part, the northern section has been inaccessible to humanitarian work for years. This seems to be the home base of the hard core fighters; a few huminatarian agencies have recently started to move in. An inter agency assessment mission was mounted in late September - early October, ‘99. The peace keeping force (ECOMOG) runs a DDR site in Daru. There are over 50,000 internally displaced persons based in and around Kenema town, who will be returning to the area. This is an area suggested for LWF/DWS intervention.

Kailahun
this district, lying next to the most disputed northern districts of Kono and others has witnessed some of the worst fighting, starting as far back as 1990. Most parts are at present considered inaccessible to humanitarian agencies and will only be accessible, following the disarmament and demobilization. The inter agency assessment mission referred to above, reached some parts of this district. Again this is a potential LWF/DWS area, since it represents a returning area for most fighters and the internally displaced.

LWF/DWS activities will therefore be carried out in the three Districts - Bo, Kenema and Kailahun. As explained above, by November ‘99 (when this appeal is written) the northern part of Kenema and almost the entire Kailahun districts are still not safe for humanitarian work; it is hoped that the disarmament will make these places accessible to the demobilized fighters and thousands of displaced people in the southern part of Kenema area and to the humanitarian agencies. Details of the specific chiefdoms in each of the three districts in which the LWF/DWS will operate, will be determined, following on going consultations among the existing donors, UN agencies and NGOs in the country.

Disaster and Emergency Statistics

Most of the statistics quoted above are derived from UN, other INGOs working in Sierra Leone and

Government sources such as the DDR Commission. A summary of statistics from many sources is as follows:

  • There are an estimated 40 - 45,000 combatants awaiting disarmament and demobilization.
  • Around 500,000 refugees mainly in neighbouring Liberia and Guinea
  • 1.5 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs)
  • Fighting in the capital city in Freetown led to the death of more than 5,000; destruction of 6,000 houses; 150,000 displaced persons in Freetown alone.
  • There are about 1,000 men, women and children as young as 4 months who have lost either a lower or upper limb or for some people, both.
  • While the death toll is not yet fully established, it is estimated to be between 150 - 200,000.
  • Over 3,000 villages are reportedly completely destroyed.
  • 400 health posts vandalised.
  • 3,000 water wells are either polluted or completely damaged.
  • 1,700 educational facilities were destroyed.

Current Security Situation

There have been and continue to be isolated incidents of cease fire violations by rebel factions. The districts of Kono and Kailahun are still to a large extent under rebel control. On 4 November 1999, in keeping with the July 7, 1999 Peace Accord, disarmament of fighters officially started in Sierra Leone. However, this has been over shadowed by reports of renewed rebel threats to disrupt the peace process, this being further exacerbated by the internal fight between the members of the RUF and AFRC alliance. Reports in Freetown speak of a possible second attack on the city, although this has been denied publicly by rebel leader Foday Sankor. The UN Representative in Freetown in early November issued a press release strongly warning rebel groups that the international community will not accept any disruption to the on going but fragile peace process. While there are these reports of possible insecurity, there is also a high optimism among Sierra Leoneans that in spite of minor hitches the disarmament will succeed. Against this background, humanitarian agencies including LWF/DWS are planning programs in a cautious manner; yet there must be the preparedness to meet the challenge of the great task to resettle and reintegrate IDPs and ex combatants, once the disarmament succeeds.

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